In the presence of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, UAE, and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), and the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) signed a Memorandum of Understanding and two letters of intent.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) seeks to strengthen cooperation between the two parties in the field of lunar exploration, while the first letter of intent seeks to establish a joint working group to oversee new Earth observation missions, and the second letter of intent outlines prospects for future collaboration between the two entities on manned space missions and conducting new experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The agreements were signed by His Excellency Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC, and His Excellency Philippe Baptiste, CEO of CNES. The signing of the new agreements took place on the sidelines of the "state visit" of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, to France.
H.E. Salem AlMarri stated that the “The strategic importance of these agreements lies in the fact that they include a wide range of space mission aspects, which will enable us to achieve various goals in return.”
His Excellency further said: "Cooperation in the field of lunar exploration and human space missions opens up new opportunities and provides valuable data that contributes to the ultimate goal of humans being able to prosper outside the planet Earth in the future. As for cooperation on Earth observation initiatives, the aim is to achieve common global goals to combat climate change and preserve the environment."
AlMarri added: "We value our distinguished partnership with the CNES, which has been in place for years," noting that these three agreements come as an extension of the cooperation that brings the UAE together with France in the field of space exploration, and emphasises the importance of exchanging and disseminating knowledge and accelerating the progress of our programmes to achieve all of our common aspirations.
The MoU stipulates the strengthening of cooperation between the MBRSC and the CNES in the field of lunar exploration as well as the launch of new missions that provide scientific data that aims to advance new scientific achievements.
The first letter of intent calls for the formation of a Joint Working Group that will discuss collaborative activities and projects in the field of Earth observation and remote sensing, as well as studying different aspects of Earth observation missions, including payload, devices and platforms, ground station tasks, and mission development.
As for the second letter of intent, it stipulates the preparation of future missions for astronauts, as it focuses on preparing experiments that will be carried out aboard the ISS. Experiments include the study of fluidics, the use of EveryWear software to collect clinical data, and the Dreams and Lumina experiments.
It is worth noting that the MBRSC and CNES each have their own programmes for Earth observation, and they have previously worked on developing satellites for various purposes, and they also pay special attention to monitoring the environment and climate change. The two
centres are currently cooperating on the development of the Rashid rover, which will be the first Arab mission to the surface of the moon, landing in an unexplored area, and providing valuable scientific data to the global scientific community.