United Arab Emirates Space Agency
وكالة الإمارات للفضاء
Agency overview
Formed2014; 10 years ago (2014)
TypeSpace agency
JurisdictionUnited Arab Emirates
HeadquartersAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
AdministratorSarah Al Amiri

The United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) (Arabic: وكالة الإمارات للفضاء translit: wikālat al-Imārāt l-lifaḍā') is the space agency of the United Arab Emirates government responsible for the development of the country's space industry. It was created in 2014 and is responsible for developing and regulating the space sector in the UAE.

The agency is charged with the growth of the sector through partnerships, academic programmes and investments in R&D, commercial initiatives, and driving space science research and exploration.[1]


The UAE proposed in 2008 to establish a Pan-Arab Space Agency, as a civilian project like the European Space Agency (ESA). The Arab Science and Technology Foundation said an agency for the Middle East and North Africa already had unofficial support from some governments and hoped that a regional organisation for disseminating satellite images could form an early foundation. The agency would monitor security and environmental changes with equatorial satellites. It would not develop its own launch capability, as that was commercially available.[2] The proposed regional agency would reduce the cost of putting satellites into orbit and pool talent and research. Plans were submitted to the region's governments and pushed for at the Global Space Technology Forum in December 2009. The UAE had already launched satellites and established an Earth Observation Space Center in Abu Dhabi.[3][4][5] However, little progress to establish the regional agency was made after the proposal.[6]

The United Arab Emirates Space Agency was then established in 2014 by presidential decree.[7]

In 2015, it formed a partnership with the Centre national d'études spatiales of France,[8] as well as with the UK Space Agency.[9]


The space agency has gathered about $5.2 billion of funding from government, private, and semi-private entities.[10]

Strategic programme

The Agency's strategic goals were announced in May 2015 and include:[11]

UAE Space Agency initiatives

Animation of Emirates Mars Mission
Around Sun
Around Mars
   Emirates Mars Mission ·   Sun ·    Earth ·   Mars

The Agency is involved in directing, investing in, and promoting a number of initiatives. The UAE has launched prior to the existence of the Agency commercial satellites constructed by EADS (YahSat 1A and 1B), Boeing (Thuraya 1, 2 and 3) and MBRSC DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, developed as part of a technology transfer programme with South Korea's Satrec Initiative, resulting in an existing space sector investment of some $5.5 billion.[11]

Space Science Research Centre, Al-Ain

The $27 million Al-Ain based Space Research Centre was announced on 25 May 2015. The centre is intended as an incubator for space research, development, and innovation. It will be involved in coordinating with a number of agencies, including the Emirates Mobile Observatory.[11]

Emirates Mars Mission

Main article: Emirates Mars Mission

The Emirates Mars Mission is being undertaken by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, a Government of Dubai entity.[12] The UAE successfully launched the Mars Hope mission to Mars on 19 July 2020. Mission goals include creating the first holistic diurnal picture of Mars' atmosphere with three science instruments mounted on an orbiter which is aimed to reach Mars orbit in early 2021. On 9 February 2021, it successfully put its probe into orbit around Mars.[13] The Centre employs 75 people which the UAE government hopes to double by 2022.[14]

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre announced on June 25th 2024 they succefully completed phase 2 of the Mars mission. The annoncement came after a 45 day simulated Mars journey at US Space Agency NASA. During that time Dr Al Romaithi conducts 18 scientific experiments under UAE Analog Programme.[15]

Emirates Lunar Mission

Main article: Emirates Lunar Mission

On 29 September 2020, Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the UAE's uncrewed mission to the Moon in 2024, as the country was seeking to expand its space sector. Sheikh Mohammed also said that the rover named "Rashid", after his father who is credited with modernizing Dubai, will cover "areas not yet reached in previous exploration missions".[16] On 14 April 2021, MBRSC announced that the schedule had been moved up to send the rover to the Moon by 2022, rather than 2024.[17] On 25 April 2023, seconds before an attempted landing, communication with the lander was lost.[18] The ispace team confirmed that the spacecraft had crashed into the Moon and was thus destroyed.[19][20]

Graduate degree programme in Advanced Space Science

In May 2015, an MoU was signed by Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Orbital ATK Inc to create a Degree Programme in Advanced Space Science, the first such course of study in the Middle East. These three entities, with co-ordination and oversight from the UAE Space Agency, will launch the academic programme at Masdar Institute.

Space tourism

The space agency is working to bring space tourism to UAE from Al Ain International Airport serving as a potential space port for the agency.[21]

The Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt

Main article: MBR Explorer

In May 2023, UAE Space Agency announced a mission to the asteroid belt, that is planned to be launched in 2028. It will visit 7 asteroids 10253 Westerwald, 623 Chimaera, 13294 Rockox, 88055, 23871, 59980, and attempt to land on 269 Justitia in 2034.[22][23][24]

The mission aims to add to our understanding of the foundation of our solar system and the presence and origins of the building blocks of life found in the asteroid belt, as well as lay the ground for possible future resource extraction from asteroids.

See also


  1. ^ "Objectives | UAE Space Agency". www.space.gov.ae. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  2. ^ Call for pan-Arab space agency, The National 27 October 2008
  3. ^ UAE develops space industry, itweb 15 April 2009
  4. ^ UAE pioneering pan Arab space agency Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Hindu 17 April 2009
  5. ^ Abu Dhabi Forum Could Boost Plans for Pan-Arab Space Agency Archived 26 February 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Khaleej Times 5 December 2009
  6. ^ Shaykhoun, Sonya. "Pan-Arab Space Agency: Pipe Dream or Real Possibility?". satellitetoday.com. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  7. ^ Schreck, Adam. "The United Arab Emirates is joining the space race". ASSOCIATED PRESS. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  8. ^ "United Arab Emirates launches space agency". 26 May 2015. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Dubai and UK satellites to work together". gulfnews.com. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  10. ^ Greene, Kate (30 March 2017). "Why the United Arab Emirates is Building a Space Program from Scratch". Slate.
  11. ^ a b c "UAE space agency unveils ambitious plans". gulfnews.com. 25 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  12. ^ "UAE to build new space research centre in Al Ain". 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Emirates Mars Mission: Hope spacecraft enters orbit". BBC News. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  14. ^ SCHRECK, ASAM (25 May 2015). "United Arab Emirates aims for the stars with new plans for a national space agency". Associated Press. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  15. ^ "'Marswalk' completes UAE pilot's 45-day simulated Mars journey". gulfnews.com. 25 June 2024. Retrieved 26 June 2024.
  16. ^ "United Arab Emirates plans to launch mission to moon in 2024". Los Angeles Times. 29 September 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  17. ^ "UAE sets new ambitious timetable for launch of moon rover". ABC News.
  18. ^ Victor, Daniel (25 April 2023). "Moon Landing Updates: What Happened During Ispace's Moon Landing Attempt". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  19. ^ "Status Update on ispace HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander". ispace. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  20. ^ "Japan Spacecraft Believed to Have Crashed on Moon During Landing". Bloomberg.com. 25 April 2023. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  21. ^ Haza, Ruba (13 March 2019). "Space tourism ready for lift off in Al Ain, says UAE Space Agency director". The National News. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  22. ^ "Ambitious Emirati Mission Seeks to Visit 7 Asteroids and Land on the Big Red One". Gizmodo. 10 May 2023. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  23. ^ "United Arab Emirates and LASP announce new mission to explore the asteroid belt". Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. 6 October 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  24. ^ Jones, Andrew (12 May 2023). "UAE's ambitious asteroid mission will tour 7 space rocks". Space.com. Retrieved 21 May 2023.