SAASST, NASA, US Mission discuss space exploration future

The Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences, and Technology (SAASST), an affiliate of the University of Sharjah (UoS) organised a panel discussion titled “The Future of Space Collaboration: Preparing the Next Generation for Deep Space Exploration” to enlighten the youth about the UAE's space aspirations and ambitions, ensuring a path towards progress and prosperity.

This initiative was conducted in line with the recent announcement of the UAE's accession to the project to develop and establish the lunar space station. The panel discussion witnessed the active participation of a distinguished delegation representing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi and its Consulate General in Dubai.

Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of UoS and Director-General of SAASST, highlighted the importance of communication to enhance collaboration with local and international institutions in astronomy and space sciences, in line with the UAE’s vision in the field of space exploration. Furthermore, the Chancellor addressed the recent achievements of SAASST, including the launch of the Sharjah-Sat-1 satellite and the newly developed Sharjah Planetarium equipped with the latest technologies and projectors. He also emphasised the University’s commitment to promoting the culture of space, astronomy education and research through offering master’s and PhD programmes in the fields of astronomy, space law, astrophysics, and space sciences.

For her part, Daleya Uddin, Public Affairs Officer, US Mission, praised the achievements of the United Arab Emirates specifically the University of Sharjah and the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology, for their active role in promoting and advancing the space industry on both national and international scale.

The panel discussion was moderated by Daleya Uddin, Public Affairs Officer, US Mission, featuring distinguished participants from NASA, including Dr. Jon Olansen, Gateway Programme Manager and Sean Fuller, Gateway International Partner Manager, as well as Yousuf Faroukh, a Space Technology Engineer from the Space Sciences Department at SAASST. Several topics were discussed including the significance of international space collaboration and the contributions of the UAE to the lunar space station.

The discussion also delved into the role of public and private partnerships in the Gateway project, which is NASA’s designation for the Lunar Station, as well as experiences in shaping the development of human operations, spacecraft propulsion and autonomous precision landing systems for the Gateway programme. Additionally, the session discussed the building of capacities and increasing public awareness in space sciences and exploration, through conducting various educational activities, lectures, and workshops, through the utilisation of SAASST’s exhibitions and scientific activities conducted by experts in the field.