MBRSC in Dubai is well-known across the Middle East and the world as a centre specialised in space applications. The space centre not only designed, developed and currently manages two Earth-observational satellites – DubaiSat-1 and DuabiSat-2, it is approaching the launch of its third, KhalifaSat, and it is also working on the Emirates Mars mission – Hope Probe, a spacecraft that will make the journey to Mars in 2020, making the UAE the first Arab nation to conduct dep space exploration.

But space is just an element of the work undertaken by the centre. In the words of one of MBRSC’s leaders, Omran Sharaf, the Project Manager of the Emirates Mas Mission, “We are constantly placing ourselves outside of our comfort zone, as that is what we see as the route to accomplishment…”

MBRSC is dedicated to advancing the UAE’s standing on a global level, contributing to the nation’s ability to advance itself in sectors acknowledged to be critical to prosperity in the long term. The ambition of the UAE’s leaders is to become a nation able to compete with the top performing countries in technology, science, engineering, energy and space, among others. To do this, the traditional mentality of many Emiratis will have to change, and with the work MBRSC is doing, the change is already in process.

The youth

Young Emiratis in schools, colleges and universities have become hugely inspired by science, technology and space exploration as a result of the work the centre does – both in terms of projects and missions, but also in the initiatives it has launched alongside educational institutions across the country. But inspiring the youth is only one part of the task. It is also encouraging a shift in mentality of the older generations, who were somehow encouraged away from creativity and science, and into other sectors such as finance and of course oil and gas. In the UAE, still much depends on the parents allowing their children to pursue a career in which they will be able to approach with passion and inspiration – and now parents are able to see what passion for work can accomplish, and with the average age of employees at the space centre being just 27, MBRSC serves to illustrate what young generations can accomplish in exciting and challenging sectors.

The house of the future

Further to the space missions and the work MBRSC does with the community at large, it does have the ultimate goal of being considered a centre of scientific excellence. This objective has led some of its work away from space, and into applications back here on Earth. The most notable of these is a project that saw the UAE’s first autonomous, smart and sustainable house designed and built by Emirati engineers at the space centre.

This house of the future will become an integral component of the UAE’s future if it is to meet its sustainability targets in the future. The house includes a number of innovative features that have made it recognized as the first ever sustainable house suitable for a hot and humid climate by the Passive House Institute in Germany.

For MBRSC, the future is going to see them lead the UAE’s Mars 2117 Project to design the first city of Mars within 100 years, but many other projects both on Earth as in space are constantly being planned to inspire and engage Arabs, offering the often troubled region some hope for the future, and showing that with dedication and ambition, anything can be possible…

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