(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 25th November, 2017 (WAM) -- A number of ministers and senior space and science officials from the UAE have visited Washington D.C., to meet with senior space officials and representatives from the public and private sector in the United States, further strengthening UAE-US collaborative efforts in space science, education and exploration.
Led by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, the delegation included Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and Chairwoman of the UAE Council of Scientists, Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and other senior officials and executives from the UAE space sector.
The delegation's three day visit commenced with a strategically important meeting on commercial space transportation at the US Department of Transportation. During the meeting, opportunities for sharing knowledge and expertise were discussed. They later visited the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and Space Education group, and met with students and educators to discuss the importance to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, especially within the context of advancing humanity's peaceful use of outer space.
The delegation also visited NASA's headquarters where they were received by the leadership who discussed future opportunities for collaboration with the UAE, received a briefing from the UAE delegation on the nation's ambitious Mars missions and projects, and shared experiences from different previous and ongoing NASA projects. The delegation also toured the Goddard Space Flight Centre before traveling to the White House to meet with Dr. Scott Pace, Executive Director of the newly-formed US National Space Council.
"The UAE and the US are strategic allies with deep ties across numerous industries, including the space and education sectors," said Dr. Ahmad Al Falasi. "The UAE has set in place a long-term strategic plan to sustainably develop our space sector into one of the primary engines of the UAE's knowledge-based economy."
"We recognise that one of the keys to this transformation lies in international cooperation and knowledge-transfer across a wide range of fields, including space science, technology and education. For this reason, and in alignment with UAE's vision, we continue to strengthen means of knowledge and expertise exchange with leading models in the space industry to adapt the best suited practices for the Emirati model, as well as, provide our students with the facilities and advanced skills they require to become future leaders in the space sector and its related industries," he added.
"The visit highlights the need for international cooperation in science and research between the UAE and the world. This is particularly important in the space sector as it has a profound impact on every part of our daily lives," said Sara Al Amiri. "We need to accelerate the pace and move forward to strengthen the UAE's leading position on the global science map. By sharing the UAE's experience in this field and best practices we can help promote the dissemination of knowledge to serve the progress of science and humanity everywhere"
"Our leadership is keen to develop visions and strategies to sustain the progress of the country in science. The aim is to implement these strategies through investing in human capital, enhancing capabilities and spreading the culture of exploration among all members of society. And we now have an Emirati team leading a scientific expedition that will reach the Red Planet by 2021," she concluded.
WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Nour Salman