A Japanese astronaut has welcomed advances in the UAE’s space industry following the launch of KhalifaSat, the first satellite wholly built in the Gulf country.
It was the first satellite to be fully engineered and developed by Emiratis and was launched into space from an island south of Japan’s mainland in 2018, a milestone for space programmes in the Arab world.
The successful launch was followed by Hazzaa Al-Mansoori becoming the Emirates’ and Arab world’s first astronaut to journey to the International Space Station.
Japanese astronaut and member of the UAE’s space advisory committee, Koichi Wakata, said that the launch of KhalifaSat on the Mitsubishi H2A rocket and the expected launch of the Mars Mission represented exciting advances in space technology.
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“It's amazing to see the steady growth in space activities and think young people in the UAE are fascinated with science and technology,” Wakata told Arab News. “I was very excited to ask this year about astronaut Al-Mansoori, the first Emirates astronaut. He conducted an educational event in the Japanese laboratory called Kibo on the International Space Station. I'm very happy that Japan is part of the development in space technology in the country. We are happy that we are working closely with UAE.”
Al-Mansoori conducted 16 scientific experiments in cooperation with international space agencies, including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
In 2016, JAXA and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation in exploration for peaceful purposes.
A survey published last year showed that the Arab world had a high level of awareness about the UAE’s space partnership with Japan, according to a YouGov online poll of 18 countries.