DUBAI, Investment in space technology is essential for the UAE, if it is to transition its economy away from an oil-dependent model, as the country pursues its ambition to become a pioneer and leading player on the global economic stage.
This was the prevailing sentiment of Sara Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, and Saqr Bin Ghalib, space entrepreneur and Chief Operating Officer of Marshall Intech, from a discussion entitled, '2020: A Year of Space Exploration' at the inaugural Frontiers Series 2020, organised by World Government Summit.
Moderated by Khalifa Al Olama, Head of the Future Platform at Dubai Future Foundation,DFF, the session discussed the importance of the UAE's investment in space technology and its positive impact in driving economic growth and diversification.
Addressing the session, Sara Al Amiri, said: "Whether space is a necessity or luxury has been a topic of continued debate. The UAE considers it necessary for the transition of its economy.
"We live in a world where space technology has become a prominent part of our everyday lives, given their multiple applications in different areas ranging from geographical positioning, to infrastructure development, and better understanding of climate data."
She added: "As the UAE is rapidly transitioning to a knowledge-based economy, the country seeks to leverage its space assets to drive future growth in different sectors. Making space technology more accessible is an important priority for the UAE and the country believes that the responsibility to provide this access should not entirely rest on the government sector.
"As the country is pursuing an ambition to become not just a regional power, but a truly global power, investment in space sector is a top priority to develop its indigenous capabilities and nurture a new generation of space entrepreneurs."
Al Amiri also noted that the private sector can play an important role in developing and accelerating access to space technologies by using the wealth of data produced by space systems. However, it is imperative to develop smaller and cost-effective systems to ensure universal access to space technologies.
For his part, Saqr Bin Ghalib, highlighted the features of a falconry tracking application that Marshall Intech developed. The technology used to track the flight of falcons uses GPS tracking technology to locate falcons at long distances with high accuracy. The company's transmitters provide real-time data on every movements a falcon makes in its journey. By harnessing the power and potential of this kind of tech, Bin Ghalib said, the UAE could revolutionise an array of industries, including its space exploration programmes.
Source: Emirates News Agency