2018/06/26 – South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes.
The MoU was signed on the margins of the sixty-first session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) currently underway in Vienna.
The MoU seeks to establish a non-binding cooperation framework for pursuing cooperation between the two parties. It will also promote and organise the exchange of information and technical expertise, as well as engage in mutual cooperative activities.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of SANSA, Dr Val Munsami, said the MoU would ensure that areas of cooperation are identified and explored that will involve the respective space industries of both countries.
He said during the meeting with his counterpart ahead of the signing the MoU, they identified space exploration and application programmes as areas that the two agencies can work together on.
“Part of our mandate is to assist in developing the local industry through sourcing out work that we intend doing to the local industry, and in that way it stimulates the industry. We also work with a few start-ups, especially black empowered start-ups. When we look at relations and investments like these, we have these in mind,” said Dr Val Munsami.
Speaking at the same event, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills UAE, his Excellency Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, said “he was excited about the coming together of the two agencies”. He said he was looking forward to identifying more areas of cooperation. He pointed out collaboration and cooperation as significant to the enhance space diplomacy at work. He further said that it was not about the countries, but about benefit of human kind.
While addressing the UNISPACE+50 High-Level Segment of the 61st session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS), Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe said South Africa has expressed keen interest in global partnerships concerning Space exploration and innovation; and will continue, to prioritise this area for economic development.
He said that many visitors at the South African stand at the UNISPACE+50 Exhibition were impressed by the programmes, component parts, and particularly the university programmes in satellite engineering and about the second Cube SAT that the Cape Peninsula University of Technology has developed and is ready to launch.