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United Arab Emirates launches national space agency strategy

Emirati and other visitors visit the Space Museum during the launch of the UAE Space Agency strategic plan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, May 25, 2015. The agency on Monday laid out a strategic framework for a newly created space agency that aims to integrate various arms of the Gulf federation's burgeoning space industry. The announcement comes less than three weeks after the Dubai-based team behind a 2020 mission to Mars announced that its probe will circle the planet studying its atmosphere, including changes over time and how surface features such as volcanoes, deserts and canyons affect it. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates on Monday laid out a strategic framework for a newly created space agency that aims to integrate various arms of the Gulf federation’s burgeoning space industry.

The seven-state federation, perhaps best known for its oil wealth and extravagant attractions like Dubai’s palm-shaped islands and the record-breaking Burj Khalifa skyscraper, is fast establishing itself as the Arab world’s leader in the space sector.

The UAE Space Agency, created last year by presidential decree, aims to regulate and support the industry, which includes existing Earth-orbiting satellite programs and plans for a mission to Mars in 2020.

Agency Chairman Khalifa Mohammed Thani al-Rumaithi said the space industry will help diversify the country’s economy and create highly skilled jobs for a growing youth population.

“The United Arab Emirates is seeking to confirm its status as a spacefaring nation,” he told a gathering at an event rolling out the federal body in the capital, Abu Dhabi, that featured models of Emirati satellites and waiters serving space-themed canap

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