UAE Embassy in Washington, DC Celebrates 44th National Day

UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Highlights Emirates Mission to Mars

Washington, DC (3 December 2015) – Last night, the United Arab Emirates Embassy (UAE) in Washington, DC celebrated the UAE’s 44th National Day at a gala event hosted by Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba. In marking the UAE’s rapid progress over 44 years, the event honored the newly announced Emirates Mission to Mars and underscored how the country’s space program will inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers.

“The UAE is building an economic engine for the entire region – a place that encourages and celebrates innovation, creativity and enterprise,” said the Ambassador during remarks at the event. “The UAE Mars mission serves as much more than a scientific and technological breakthrough. It is a signpost for future generations – both in the UAE and across the region – that says anything is possible.”

The UAE’s Mars probe – “Hope,” or “Al Amal” in Arabic – will be launched in July 2020. It is expected to enter Mars’ orbit in 2021, coinciding with the UAE’s 50th anniversary. Once in orbit, the Hope probe will serve as the planet’s first weather satellite, collecting data to help scientists around the world better understand how the Martian atmosphere and climate has changed over millions of years.

Leaders from the UAE Space Agency, led by Director General Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, joined the UAE Embassy for its National Day celebration. Dr. Al Ahbabi commented on how the Emirates Mars Mission hopes to contribute to the UAE’s growth and prosperity.

“The Emirates Mars Mission is the first space exploration mission to be launched by an Arab country, and we are confident the mission and space program will accomplish great things. Our vision is that this project will help the development of the UAE’s economy, support local, regional and international space study and technology and create exciting new learning opportunities,” said Dr. Al Ahbabi.

Dr. Ellen Stofan, Chief Scientist at NASA, also delivered brief remarks, highlighting the importance of international collaboration.

“The Journey to Mars will be a very different journey than NASA’s exploration of the Moon,” said Dr. Stofan. “Space agencies around the world are advancing the exploration and utilization of space, using a systematic approach to expand humankind’s presence in the solar system. Like the Curiosity Rover, the Emirates Mars Mission will inspire an entire generation of scientists, engineers, researchers and dreamers to think, create and innovate. NASA looks forward to working closely with the UAE on the path to Mars.”

The UAE Embassy’s National Day celebration was attended by hundreds of guests, including senior US government officials, high-profile media, business and community leaders, and members of the diplomatic community.  The event was held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

On this festive occasion, Ambassador Al Otaiba also congratulated UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, rulers of all the other Emirates, and the people of the UAE on the 44th national anniversary of the United Arab Emirates.