The UAE Space Agency has signed a significant memorandum of cooperation with the Government of Japan, representing a major step forward in safe space exploration and strategic cooperation in the short and long terms.

Recognizing the advantages and benefits of co-operating in the realm of space science and peaceful space exploration, the memorandum promotes the exchange of information and collaboration in research and development, human capital development and the development of space related industries.

It also advocates for educational exchanges by agreeing to share space experiences, studies, and research, as well as encouraging space sector visits, conferences and lectures, stated Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, the chairman of the UAE Space Agency, after signing the agreement.

Dr Tsutomu Tomioka, State Minister of Education, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Yosuke Takagi, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Yasuyuki Sakai, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office of Japan and Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, the director general of the UAE Space Agency, attended.

Dr Al Rumaithi said: “The UAE and Japan have a long-standing relationship across many fields from business to education. Furthermore, Japan has been a consistent and considerable supporter of our space efforts since the UAE Space Agency’s founding.”

Dr Al Ahbabi said the memorandum brings the UAE a step closer to its goal of launching the Hope Probe to Mars in 2020.

“We discussed with our Japanese counterparts the various ways we can ensure the challenging project is successful. We welcome the experience and insight our Japanese peers have to offer, especially given the participation of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the launch of the first Arab probe to Mars,” he added.

In his address, Takagi said: “The co-operation between Japan and the UAE in energy and wide variety of industrial sectors is essential for the economic development of both countries, which I have been deeply involved.”

“Through this MoC, we would like to accelerate the space exploration and utilization as well as the development of space industry of both countries. METI will initiate several initiatives from this year, including a seminar to promote the exchanges of the space industry of Japan and the UAE, dispatch of experts, and invitation of engineers and students in UAE to Japan,” he added.