SA strengthens ties with UAE space sector

Sep 25, 2018, 14:36 PM

South Australia’s space industry will continue to strengthen its existing relationship with the UAE space sector during an official visit to the country this week. 

The South Australia Space Industry Centre, joined by local start- ups Inovor Technologies and Neumann Space, along with Hamilton Secondary College – home to the only dedicated space school in South Australia – will explore new collaboration opportunities with key players in the UAE space sector.   

During the mission, the group will meet with representatives from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the Dubai government organisation responsible for helping deliver the UAE Space Program, which includes various space satellite projects and the Emirates Mars Mission.  

The MBRSC will launch its first-ever Emirati-designed satellite, the KhalifaSat, from Japan next month. It follows the development of two satellites in cooperation with Korea Aerospace Research Institute, DubaiSat 1 (2009) and DubaiSat2 (2013). 

With KhalifaSat and the first two astronauts just selected to go on a mission to the International Space Station, UAE has shown in the last decade that it intends to play an important role in the development of space economy in the world. 

Exploring space education and research collaboration opportunities will also be high the agenda, with the delegation visiting the University of Sharjah, University of UAE, and Khalifa University.       

SASIC director Nicola Sasanelli, who is leading the mission, said it was an opportunity to build on South Australia’s existing relationship with UAE Space Agency, which was first forged during the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide last year and further strengthened at recent state government-hosted South Australia Space Forums.   

“This mission is a fantastic opportunity to enhance cooperation with the UAE Space Agency and international space organisations, which is a key objective of our space strategy to grow our space industry,” he said.  

“The UAE has an advanced space sector which has grown rapidly in recent years. Cooperation is key to ensuring we contribute to the improvement of the capabilities through joint projects and initiatives.” 

In February earlier this year, the South Australian Government signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE Space Agency to set up a framework for joint cooperation in the space sector, including the exchange of information, expertise, scientific research and space technology. 

Building on this collaboration, a group of 12 students with an interest in space from the UAE participated in an exchange trip to Hamilton Secondary College’s space school – a direct outcome of the MoU.