Space sector collaboration is essential for humanity’s future

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Dubai: Space will help humanity to secure its future, and international collaboration is critical to further exploration, according to speakers at the US-UAE Business Council – Leveraging International Partnerships in Space Exploration event on Tuesday at Expo 2020 Dubai’s USA Pavilion. Distinguished panelists from Boeing, Jacobs, Lockheed Martin, and StarLab Oasis discussed the latest breakthroughs in space technology and how cross-border exchange will help advance innovation as part of Expo 2020’s Space Week.

Kuljit Ghata-Aura, President, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Boeing, outlined the benefits of space exploration: “If you go to the beginning of intelligence gathering, we put powerful satellites in space that allowed us to see what’s happening to the planet. The more we do that, the more we increase the consciousness level and get more people behind our goal: an Earth that’s there for our children, and our children’s children.”

When considering priorities for the future, he added: “We need to get into deep space exploration, and we should give everybody the ability to contribute in a way they feel is safe. That’s going to a huge push for governments, and ideally we should see an overarching treaty where everyone can come in… from everywhere around the world, to deep space exploration. The deeper we get, the greater our understanding will grow.”

Dawne Hickton, Executive Vice President and COO, Critical Mission Solutions, Jacobs, emphasised the importance of collaboration as a critical tool to drive innovation among youth: “No one country has a lock on the best ideas… and if we want the next generation of students – the generation that’s going to save the globe, and not just one country – then we absolutely have to collaborate. We’ve got to take the ideas wherever we find them.”

Robert (Bob) Harward, Chief Executive, Middle East, Lockheed Martin, explained how to facilitate more partnerships: “We’re seeing a bottom-up approach through universities… around the world, they are collaborating and sharing information better than the government agencies or commercial business. That may be the model of the future – but it will be tough, because at a certain point it translates into dollars, and return on investment… and becomes a little more complicated. But there are serious lessons to be learned that we can incorporate.”

Allen Herbert, General Manager, StarLab Oasis, said he expects the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region to be one of the most powerful in the use of space ag-technology to help address global issues such as food security and climate change, and added: “Space is for everybody, and the kind of collaboration [we have seen] with the International Space Station, [the] Artemis [program]… everybody should be involved, and that’s why we talk about the emerging space nations. Africa, the Middle East, Latin America… there is a time for them all to get involved, and I would like to see more American companies partner with space entrepreneurs from these regions.”

Space Week, the second of Expo 2020 Dubai’s 10 Theme Weeks, continues until 23 October, and is held in association with the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). It presents an array of content, discussions and more that will probe the benefits, solutions and challenges of exploring beyond our planet’s orbit.