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On July 17, the United Arab Emirates announced the creation of a 3 billion UAE dirham ($816.84 million) fund to help with the development of radar satellites and its space programme, President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan said on Twitter.

In 2014, the UAE formed a space agency, five years later launched its first astronaut to the International Space Station, and had plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2024.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed, the ruler of Dubai, stated that the fund aims to encourage the creation of domestic enterprises in the space sector and advance domestic strategic and research projects.

With this development, it will become the first Arab nation to create a constellation of synthetic aperture radar satellites. The UAE already boasts the most ambitious space programme in the Middle East, with plans to send a spacecraft into Martian orbit, explore Venus in seven years, and land on an asteroid.

The fund will help a large-scale space programme that has already launched a spacecraft into Martian orbit and has exploration intentions for Venus. According to UAE Ruler Mohammed bin Zayed, the initiative would include the start of a national programme for the creation of contemporary radar satellites as well as the establishment of a national fund with a capital of three billion dirhams. The satellites will offer year-round, all-weather images of the world. Applications will include search and rescue as well as the detection of oil spills and ship monitoring.

“The project will contribute to the UAE’s efforts to develop solutions to climate change, environmental sustainability and improved disaster management," the UAE media office earlier said.

(With agency inputs)

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