The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) and Bigelow Aerospace LLC, an organisation dedicated to providing affordable options for spaceflight to national space agencies and corporate clients, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to drive joint efforts to usher in a new era in human spaceflight based on innovative technologies, affordability, commercial sustainability, and strong international partnerships.
As per the MoU, EIAST and Bigelow Aerospace will explore joint efforts to establish a next-generation commercial human spaceflight programme for Dubai and the UAE, leveraging recent advances in human spaceflight. They will work to create a world-class microgravity research and development programme with a potential focus on advanced biotechnology applications, and a variety of other commercial space-related activities.The two organisations will work to open the frontiers of space to all of humanity, and provide citizens of Dubai and the UAE with the unparalleled opportunity to leverage the scientific, commercial, and educational benefits of orbital human spaceflight that have been previously and primarily enjoyed only by a handful of nations.
The MoU was signed by His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Al Mansoori, Director General of EIAST, and Mr. Robert T. Bigelow, President of Bigelow Aerospace.
Mr. Al Mansoori said, “The partnership of EIAST with Bigelow Aerospace is a critical next step forward for the organisation in exploring the potential for human spaceflight programmes. The MoU will not only elevate Dubai to a stronger global platform as a facilitator of commercial human spaceflight but also create more opportunities for people anywhere in the world to take advantage of our initiatives to experience the marvels of space travel.”
He added, “In addition to continuing on our focus of satellite and space research services that will significantly enhance the quality of life in the UAE, EIAST is also exploring new avenues for strengthening our footprint in the global space research industry. The MoU with Bigelow Aerospace is a testament to our focused initiatives to make an imprint on all aspects of space research and its practical applications for the benefit of humanity.”
Bigelow Aerospace has a proven track-record of launching two pathfinder spacecraft, Genesis I and Genesis II, in 2006 and 2007 respectively. These spacecraft, designed to test and validate the company’s next-generation space habitat technology were successfully flown and deployed on a Dnepr rocket, the same launch system that successfully deployed DubaiSat-1 in 2009.
Robert Bigelow said, “Similar to the beginnings of commercial telecommunications or aviation, we are witnessing the dawn of a new industry that will change the way we live life here on Earth. Robust and reliable access to microgravity will impact fields as diverse as pharmaceutical development to fuel production, representing a broad and substantial technological leap forward. The countries and companies that have the foresight to develop early access to orbital capabilities and infrastructure will become the economic and technological leaders of the future.”
Mr. Bigelow added, “We are thrilled to be working with the EIAST to help bring these benefits to the citizens of Dubai and the UAE. By leveraging innovative technology such as Bigelow Aerospace’s habitats, we can create a dynamic, prosperous, and peaceful future in space, and all of us at Bigelow Aerospace are extremely excited to partner with the EIAST in pursuit of this global vision.”