Middle East is Making its Way to the Stars.
As World Space Week is celebrated worldwide, Middle East is gradually becoming a global player in the space conquest.
Every year, in memory of the launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957 in Russia, World Space Week started on October 4th. For seven days, space enthusiasts and experts celebrate space exploration through more than 3,700 events spread across 80 countries.
As the world enters its second space age, Middle East takes a new step in its opening up to space. Even though the creation of a pan-Arab space agency suggested in 2008 is not yet on the agenda, space science, mathematics, engineering and technology are gaining more and more ground in the region. Whether in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon or Jordan, the entire Middle East region is aiming to go further in its space programs.
A space conquest achieved step by step
Since 1985 and the sending of Saudi prince Sultan Bin Salman into space, the space conquest has never been so advanced in the region. As a valuable space leader in the region, UAE created the most relevant and mature space agency in 2014 in the region. By 2021, it plans to send an orbiter around Mars via its probe Amal (Hope), through its project called “Mission Mars”. As for Saudi Arabia, the kingdom is working on developing satellite technologies for remote sensing and space communications.
More generally, the region is also focusing on youth in the success of its various projects. An in-depth curriculum redesign took place to adapt to changes with new curricula and more targeted study programs focusing on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and space . For instance, this fall at the University of the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Physics will suggest new courses of space science and its Science College will develop a minor in Space Science, which will be open to all students in the United Arab Emirates University.