The United Arab Emirates Space Agency has had discussions with NASA about returning astronauts to the surface of the moon during this decade.
The two agencies discussed the Artemis program, human spaceflight, climate change research and planetary science.
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and President of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, met with NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy on Tuesday on the sidelines of a major space conference in Dubai.
“It was an honor to meet Sarah Al Amiri and the leaders of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, our hosts for the International Astronautical Congress,” said Ms. Melroy.
“We discussed human spaceflight, climate change research, NASA’s Artemis, planetary science and the future.”
Astronauts from the United Arab Emirates have already expressed interest in joining the Artemis program.
Nora Al Matrooshi, the first Arab woman astronaut, and Mohammed Al Mulla said they wanted to be part of the program at a press conference earlier this year.
Through the Artemis program, NASA aims to send the first woman and the next man to the lunar surface by 2024.
The long-term plan is to build a lunar orbiting space station, called the Lunar Gateway, and use the Moon as a base, so that the first astronauts can travel to Mars from there.
NASA hopes to launch an unmanned flight to the moon in February, sending its Orion spacecraft aboard the Super Launch System – one of the most powerful rockets in the world – around the lunar orbit.
The United Arab Emirates have expanded their partnership with NASA in recent years. Last year, he signed the Artemis Agreements for Responsible Lunar Exploration and an agreement to train four Emirati astronauts at the NASA Space Center in Houston.
Mike Gold, the former acting associate administrator of NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations, said The National then in an exclusive interview that the signing of the agreements by the United Arab Emirates would pave the way for the first Emirates to be sent to the Moon.
“The United Arab Emirates can become, and we hope, a strong and solid partner in the Artemis program,” Gold said, referring to the project which aims to establish a human base on the moon.
âWe look forward to collaborating not only on lunar rovers, but on other forms of science and orbiters, and possibly on human spaceflight. The UAE is not only ambitious, but it follows ambitions with funding and actions, which is why they are a great partner to join us on this unprecedented journey of discovery. “
NASA’s Artemis program and the Lunar Gateway have attracted many international partnerships.
A Canadian astronaut is part of the Artemis 2 flight, said to be the first flight that would bring a man and woman back to lunar orbit since the Apollo missions.
The European Space Agency is building the international accommodation module for the bridge, while Japan has agreed to provide survival capabilities and additional crew space on the module.
In addition to sending Emirati astronauts to the moon, the UAE also has the opportunity to improve their engineering capabilities under the Artemis program.
The International Astronautical Congress is taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center until October 29.
Heads of space agencies, policymakers and private space companies attend the event, which is hosted by an Arab country for the first time since its launch in 1950.
The UAE Space Agency also held meetings with the Indian Space Agency, Brazil and Luxembourg on Tuesday.
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Updated: October 26, 2021, 7:57 AM