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UAE to Build Satellites, land on asteroid, explore Venus and more

The UAE already has one of the most ambitious space programs in the Middle East, in addition to launching a spacecraft into Mars orbit, with plans to explore Venus and land on an asteroid within seven years.

The UAE will set up a 3 billion dirham ($820 million) fund to develop satellites, as well as bolster an ambitious space program that already includes a probe into Mars orbit and plans to explore Venus.

The six-year development program will see the first satellite launch in three years, the state-run WAM news agency reported. The fund will encourage global partnerships to establish themselves in the country and provide incentives as part of the UAE Space Agency’s Space Economic Zone program.

“The project will contribute to the UAE’s efforts to develop solutions for climate change, environmental sustainability and improved disaster management,” the country’s media office said. Applications will include oil spill detection, vessel monitoring, as well as search and rescue.

The Gulf nation said the move would make it the first Arab country to develop a constellation of synthetic aperture radar satellites. The satellites – known as Sirb after the Arabic word for flock of birds – will be developed through public and private sector partnerships with international organizations, WAM said.

The UAE already has one of the most ambitious space programs in the Middle East, in addition to launching a spacecraft into Mars orbit, with plans to explore Venus and land on an asteroid within seven years.

The country established a space agency in 2014, sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station five years later, and plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2024.


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