The Egyptian Space Agency is planning to send an Egyptian astronaut on a mission to the International Space Station, according to a recent statement by the head of the Egyptian Space Agency, Mohamed El-Qousy.
El-Qousy announced during a visit by officials of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency to the Egyptian Space City in Cairo on Wednesday, according to Ahram Online, an online news media based in Egypt.
The official visit to Cairo follows in the wake of the return of Hazza Al-Mansouri, UAE’s first astronaut who spent eight days in space onboard the International Space Station.
The Emirati delegation discussed possible areas of bilateral and regional space cooperation with the Egyptian Space Agency, including plans for the exchange of expertise and resources in the field of space research.
El-Qousy stressed the importance of cooperation with the UAE Space Agency to achieve integration between the two agencies and establish an Arab bloc within the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
As part of the plan to strengthen Arab Space Cooperation Group, which was launched in March by the UAE in partnership with Egypt and nine other Arab nations, the UAE government is developing the Arab Satellite 813 to provide Earth observation and climate data to Arab institutions.
Commenting on UAE-Egypt space cooperation, Nasser Rashid, the Director of Policy and Legislation at the UAE Space Agency, described Arab Satellite 813 project as “the beginning of real cooperation with Egypt and a group of Arab countries”.
In 2017, Egypt’s Council of Ministers approved a law allowing the President to establish an Egyptian Space Agency with the mandate to coordinate Egypt’s national space programme. The Agency became operational in 2018 and is expected to build Egypt’s capabilities in space science and technology.
Egypt is investing significantly in its space programmes with the launch of three satellites in 2019, the ongoing construction of assembly, integration and test facilities in collaboration with China, and the planned launch of a military communication satellite before the end of 2019.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Editor at Space in Africa. He writes about Africa’s NewSpace companies and emerging national space programs.