The third day of the United Nations/United Arab Emirates High Level Forum: “Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development,” in Dubai, which is hosted by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and jointly organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) was a remarkable and exciting day with high level panels and discussions – followed by an outstanding gala dinner.
The early morning session focused on Space Debris, and was moderated and introduced into the topic by Sumaya Al Hajeri from the UAE Space
Agency. Khaled Al Hashemi, UAE Space Agency, explained the UAE activities for active space debris mitigation. He also reminded the audience about the possibility of object tracking – up to 10cm in LEO and 1 meter in GEO. Niklas Hedman from UNOOSA spoke on the history and current activities of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the UNOOSA since 1994. The Compendium of space debris mitigation standards – a guideline in this critical environment – was referenced. Michael Lindsay of OneWeb gave an overview from an upcoming constellation operator’s point of view. OneWeb’s active debris mitigation concept involves a one year deorbiting phase – instead of 25 years. He also explained OneWeb’s upcoming constellation concept comprised of 720 satellites on 18 orbital planes in an orbit of 1200km with a lifetime of 5 years per satellite.
In the following UNISPACE+50 segment, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher
Education of the UAE, Salem Al Marri, MBRSC, Simonetta di Pippo, UNOOSA, gave their addresses and remarks before the moderators of the 4four sessions on Space Economy, Space Society, Space Accessibility, and Space Diplomacy presented the outcome of their panel contributions. The Minister of Sience and Technology of Thailand, Mr Atchka Sibunruang finished this panel with an overview of the space segment in Thailand. One of the continous outcome was the call for international cooperation on space activities to the audience.
Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director-General of MBRSC said: “The UAE is considered the role model for the region. The four national space programmes demonstrate that Space is the perfect platform to encourage youth”
One highlight of the day was the signing of a Memorandum of Unterstanding between the UAE Space Agency and the UNOOSA. Under the MOU, UNOOSA and the UAE Space Agency have agreed to work on capacity-building initiatives on both the technical and legal aspects of the peaceful uses of outer space, and to undertake joint research projects on the use of space technology and applications for economic and social benefits. UNOOSA and the UAE Space Agency will promote and coordinate regional cooperation on these topics. In addition, the MOU addresses the UAE Space Agency’s support to UNISPACE+50 and activities under the Space2030 agenda, which will result from UNISPACE+50. The UNOOSA-UAE Space Agency MOU will be in force for an initial period of five years.
Two panels about International Cooperation and Challenges toward UNISPACE+50 followed with remarkable contributions from the panelists, such as the Chair of COPUOS, David Kendall.
The afternoon was filled with an informative technical tour to the Sharjah Astronomy Center.
A great finish of the day was given with a gala dinner by the UAE Space Agency host. In the secret garden of the Jumeirah Creeksite Hotel the participants of the conference enjoyed delicious local food specialities and a local cultural programme with traditional dances and songs. The highlight was the history of UAE Space activities performed with a sand drawing.