As fans all around the world excitedly wait for further news on the the new instalment of their beloved Star Wars, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has released its own space news story: it is launching a fully-fledged space sector. Unlike Star Wars, this news story is not fiction and the plan by the UAE is in fact a thoroughly thought out proposal to create new jobs and diversify its economy, which is currently heavily reliant on oil.
There is more to this news story than initially meets the eye. Yes, the news is interesting in itself, but from an engineering and technology point of view this is likely to affect a lot of people closer to home. One of the most fascinating parts of engineering is the development of new technology that can be used in different applications to those it was initially designed for. Although UAE intends to produce satellites that will orbit Mars, the likelihood is that there will be technological discoveries from missions that can be adapted for everyday use in other industries, such as healthcare and solar power. This is common in the engineering world. You may remember we referenced this in a recent blog, where we discussed multi-industry knowledge transfer, such as how Formula One technology benefits the automotive industry and how the precision cold forming technique is used for components in road cars as well as aerospace and medical.
The UAE intends to build an unmanned space probe – which will orbit Mars for up to four years – called Hope in the next six years. While the world may be watching the skies for the space probe, we’ll be keeping our eyes firmly peeled on industry here on earth to see which applications have benefited from technological advances resulting from the space programme investment.