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The National UAE Space Agency and Boeing launch UAE space competition

posted on 25/11/2015: 1986 views



The National, Abu Dhabi Media's English-language newspaper, has announced a partnership with the UAE Space Agency and Boeing to launch "The National Space Programme" to coincide with UAE Innovation Week.

The announcement was made at a press conference, where it was disclosed that the programme will feature two competitions: Genes in Space is a DNA analysis experiment competition for high school students, and the Satellite Launch project will see a university team with a winning idea build a data-driven satellite and launch it into space.

Genes in Space challenges students from grades 7-12 to design a DNA amplification experiment using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process to be conducted in the microgravity environment aboard the International Space Station. Students can work alone or in teams of up to four. The deadline for submissions is February 3rd, 2016.

The five finalists will be announced at the Global Aerospace Summit being held from March 7th to 8th, 2016, in Abu Dhabi, and will receive mentorship from local scientists as well as specialists from MIT and Harvard as they develop their experiments. The winner will be chosen by an expert panel of scientists, innovators and educators, in May. The winning experiment will be conducted by astronauts on the International Space Station and the winning team will be invited to the United States to view the rocket launch of their experiment to the space station.

"Media is a key innovation driver and The National is always keen to support initiatives that raise awareness on important topics, especially ones that reinforce Abu Dhabi's position as an innovative hub. Our collaboration with inspirational industry leaders is strategically aligned with our mission to prepare future leaders and innovators," said Mohammed Al Otaiba, Editor-in-Chief of The National.

"We look forward to having youth across the country, the region and the world use STEM education and space exploration to further their knowledge in the scientific domain," he added.

Additional partners to the project include Abu Dhabi Education Council, Yahsat, Khalifa University, Thuraya, Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, Ministry of Education, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Twitter, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, and the Emirates Foundation.

Earlier this year, Boeing launched the Genes in Space competition in the US to enhance creativity, collaborative work and critical thinking among young innovators familiarising them with biological and physical sciences. A senior high school student won the first iteration of the competition with an experiment that investigates why astronauts returning to Earth have compromised immune systems. The student experiment will orbit Earth on board the International Space Station in 2016.

"Inspiring and educating the next generation of leaders is at the core of what we do," said Dr. Mohamed Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency. "It is critical that we give our future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians engaging opportunities for growth, and we're thrilled to be partnering with The National to support The National Space Programme and challenge our students to think bigger than ever before."

Encouraging students across the UAE to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields is central to the UAE Space Agency's mission and a key tenet of the UAE Vision 2021. Also vital is the exposure of students, educators and the general public to cutting-edge technology in the aerospace industry, as well as its development as a tool for national growth.

"We're proud to work with the UAE Space Agency to bring the Genes in Space competition to the UAE and the Middle East," said Peter McGrath, Director, Global Sales and Marketing, Boeing Space Exploration. "Starting with a partnership equally steeped in aerospace science and education, we are confident that the UAE is on track to be a world leader across STEM fields."

The second competition in The National Space Programme features the innovative Satellite Launch project, which challenges university students to pitch a concept for a satellite. The winning team will build a miniature satellite based on the CubeSat framework. The winning team will see their satellite launched and docked at the International Space Station before being released into orbit for data collection. The Satellite Launch project will be open for submissions before the end of the year. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395288422832.html

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