In the distinguished presence of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE has unveiled its collaboration with the USA, Japan, Canada, and the European Union in developing a module for NASA’s Lunar Gateway Station. Additionally, the UAE announced its groundbreaking initiative to send the first Emirati astronaut into lunar orbit as part of this ambitious project.
The UAE’s commitment to contributing to the development of the Crew and Science Airlock module on the Lunar Gateway Station underscores its dedication to enhancing its global standing in space science and technology. President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed, “The UAE’s participation in this international project reflects our commitment to promoting partnerships with the world that contribute to the advancement of knowledge and progress for humanity.”
During the ceremony held at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan commended the national institutions and teams working towards achieving the UAE’s space ambitions. He reiterated the leadership’s steadfast support for international missions that contribute to the sustainable development of the country and the global community.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum highlighted the UAE’s extensive experience in the space sector, emphasizing the capabilities of the highly skilled professionals leading challenging scientific missions. He stated, “A significant mission awaits us in this project that represents a groundbreaking initiative for humanity’s return to the Moon, landing on its surface, and establishing it as a base for future missions toward Mars.”
The UAE, as the fifth partner in this prestigious project, will play a crucial role in developing the lunar space station’s Crew and Science Airlock. This component is vital for maintaining a secure environment for astronauts and will serve as the entry and exit point for missions and astronauts traveling to the Moon’s surface from the Lunar Gateway Station.
Furthermore, the UAE will manage and operate the Airlock, contributing to the overall success of the station. The Emirates Airlock, with a length of 10 meters, width of 4 meters, and a weight of 10 tonnes, is a key element of the station, which will double as a space laboratory for various scientific and technical experiments. The station is expected to have a minimum lifespan of 15 years, subject to extension.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) will oversee the management, maintenance, and operation of the Airlock, ensuring its effective integration into the Lunar Gateway Station. The Airlock’s development stages, including planning, design, qualification, flight preparation, and operations, are set to be completed in preparation for the station’s launch by 2025, with the Emirates Airlock scheduled for launch by 2030.
The UAE’s involvement in the Lunar Gateway marks a historic milestone in international space collaboration, elevating the nation as a pivotal leader in the global space community. The UAE will hold a permanent seat and contribute scientifically to the largest lunar and space exploration program, solidifying its position among the first countries to send an astronaut to the Moon. This collaboration supports sustained exploration and research in deep space, emphasizing the significance of international cooperation in advancing human presence on the Moon and space missions toward Mars.