Is UAE government seeks tie up with Bahrain on Mars probe?

The UAE Space Agency has requested help from Bahrain in its quest to send a rocket to Mars by 2021.

The government body, based in Abu Dhabi, met with representatives from Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA) to discuss potential areas of cooperation.

The UAE has ambitious plans to send an unmanned probe – named the ‘Hope Probe – to Mars by 2021, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the union of the emirates.

The unmanned probe, expected to launch in 2020, will take nine months to make the 60 million km journey to Mars and mark the UAE as one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet — and the first in the Middle East.

But Mohammed Nasser Al Albahbi, director-general of the UAE Space Agency, told Arabian Business in May that the timeframe was tight.

“We are under pressure,” he admitted. “Time is a problem because for this sort of project every single system is unique — this venture has never been done before. But we feel we will deliver on time.”

On Sunday, the UAE Space Agency published a statement on its website revealing that NSSA had visited Abu Dhabi to discuss ways of combining expertise on the project.

The statement said: “The UAE Space Agency is looking for opportunities of co-operation with NSSA to strengthen partnership and work between the two organisations within the space sector.

“The close relationship between the UAE and Bahrain, as well as the close economic partnership, creates many opportunities for both countries, especially in the space industry.

“This strategy falls in line with the agency’s efforts to build strategic partnerships and achieve goals of regional and international co-operation.”

The Bahraini delegation, led by NSSA chairman Dr Mohammed Al Amer, was briefed on the UAE’s technological capability to develop space technology such as satellites and probes.

The statement suggested that a UAE-Bahrain space tie-up could be broader than the Mars probe.

It said: “The two sides discussed opportunities for cooperation between the various institutions operating in the space sector and how to make the most of their expertise in the fields of technology and space science.

“Both organisations are focusing on developing the space industry, including implementing programmes and scientific missions aimed at training specialised space science national cadres.” Arabian Business