The UAE Space Agency has recently launched a new online portal called ‘iShuttle‘, designed to engage with and drive interest in space among students, teachers and the wider public.
According to the organisation, the iShuttle programme will involve challenges created by the UAE Space Agency, which, will also award participants who come up with the best solutions for each task.
The initiative is in line with the nation’s Science Technology and Innovation Roadmap, established in 2016, it aims to develop the UAE’s capabilities within the international space sector by inspiring national youth to study and pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and chairman, UAE Space Agency, said, “Encouraging students to enter STEM fields is a key goal of the UAE Space Agency and a priority of the UAE Vision 2021 to ensure that the UAE develops the human capital necessary to create a world-leading knowledge economy.
“We seek to prepare and nurture generations of talented UAE nationals to become leaders in the space industry and its related technological fields,” he added.
In addition, Dr Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, highlighted that the iShuttle portal would be an engaging way to encourage young and talented people in the space sector.
The UAE has been making significant investments into space programmes and technologies of late. In December, the country became the first-ever Arab-Islamic country official member of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters.
Furthermore, the UAE also launched its very first Astronaut programme dedicated to selecting and training ambitious and successful Emiratis in space exploration.
Last year, the UAE Space Agency also unveiled the Mars Science City project, a facility that will cover nearly 177,000 square metres (1.9 million square feet) that will feature simulated conditions for human settlers on the Red Planet. It will include laboratories for food, energy and water, as well as agricultural testing and studies about food security in the future.