Efforts and Achievements
Through meetings, consultation and communication with stakeholders, engaging specialized house of expertise, NSSA was able to preliminarily identify available national resources and summarize national needs of space information and earth observation data, which contribute to promoting space applications and technology advancement that serves the integrated development and sustainable process in the Kingdom.
The Agency is continuously organizing meetings with representatives of esteemed international companies specialized in the field of space, to keep up to date with the latest technologies and trends in the space sector, including companies specialized in constructing and launching earth observation satellites, establishing of ground stations, providing space satellite imagery and data analysis services. Through those meetings, NSSA explored the best ways to invest in this field and learnt about resources, skills and budget requirements for space initiatives.
In an attempt to fulfill the Royal directions towards learning about the space field and benefiting from the experiences of neighboring countries, NSSA has initiated contacting the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), that have both played a prominent role in supporting the efforts of the Agency in the establishment phase.
A memorandum of understanding between NSSA and UAE Space Agency has been signed, and another with MBRSC for the purpose of providing expertise, implementing joint projects, building capacity, and further obtain data and satellite images for the Kingdom on a regular basis.
In summary, the accomplishments of this cooperation was the implementation of an extensive workshop that would help in the NSSA start up process, obtaining the expertise of the UAE Space Agency to evaluate the candidates for the Bahrain Space Team, reviewing the Request for Proposal (RFP) document for constructing and launching Bahrain’s first National earth observation satellite, collaborating on a joint workshop that would help the Kingdom while drafting its national space law, and capacity building of the Bahrain Space Team .
In an attempt to fulfill the Royal directions towards learning about the space field and benefiting from the experiences of neighboring countries, NSSA has initiated contacting the Saudi Space Commission and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), that have both played a prominent role in supporting the efforts of the Agency in the establishment phase.
This opened new horizons for the Agency through the cooperation between the two entities in many fields related to space science, its applications and technology.
KACST experts also played a key role in the evaluation of candidates for the Bahrain Space Team in 2018, and supported NSSA in reviewing the Request for Proposal (RFP) document for constructing Bahrain’s first National earth observation satellite and ground station establishment with a focus on capacity building and knowledge transfer.
Today, the Agency has become the representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the field of space. The Agency has engaged with international organizations and many regional and international space agencies and research centers.
These partnerships will pave the way for the collaboration in the peaceful use of space activities for mutual benefits , the establishment of scientific space research cooperation, exchange of experiences and knowledge, and initiating joint projects.
NSSA has already signed several MoU’s, while others are in the pipeline.
NSSA completed drafting the National Space Policy, revising it with several stakeholders and by a specialized house of expertise, before obtaining the required approvals. Furthermore, NSSA have also completed drafting its strategy following best international practices, and involved many stakeholders in the process, after which the strategy was revised by a specialized house of expertise, before obtaining the required approvals.
The NSSA, in cooperation with the relevant authorities, will work in the coming years on drafting the National Space Law for the Kingdom of Bahrain space sector in line with the Kingdoms laws and policies and international treaties and space law governing outer space which have been developed under the auspices of the United Nations.
Due to budget limitations, which does not correspond to the required investment in the space sector, NSSA sought opportunities to create a source of revenue for the Agency through the services it provides and to obtain support from national institutions to implement a number of its diverse space-related projects.
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NSSA has made a strong effort to encourage the higher education institutions to adopt space-related projects and research in line with the National Strategy for Higher Education, the National Strategy for Scientific Research, and to enhance the international ranking of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the field of scientific research, supporting innovation and promoting creativity.
Supporting research in space science, technology and applications is an integral part of NSSA’s mission. Furthermore, research in space science and technology can also help achieve national research strategy’s objectives in line with Bahrain 2030 vision.
NSSA team have published many research papers in journals and conferences. Details can be found on the following link.
NSSA participation in regional and international space related conferences representing the Kingdom of Bahrain, has had a positive impact on defining the various national efforts in the uses of space applications and the efforts to promote them to improve many government services.
The Agency participations have created many opportunities for cooperating with international entities in addition to learning about the latest technologies and trends in space science, applications and technology.
NSSA has encouraged the Kingdom to become a party in international conventions and agreements and have worked with the relevant authorities to complete signing three of five main international space treaties developed under the UN Governing Activities in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space: the Outer space treaty, Liability convention, and Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
The Agency has also had positive participation in conferences and committees, highlighting the role of the Kingdom and its contributions in drafting the international space law and its related definitions and principles.
The Agency launched its first recruitment campaign to establish the “Bahrain Space Team” in 2018, after which the team was engaged in several capacity building opportunities.
NSSA has carried out a number of stakeholders workshops on space related subjects targeting different audience groups and considering levels of interest and knowledge in cooperation with many leading regional and international companies in the field of space.
NSSA is in progress to implement the first national project with a specialized house of expertise, to construct and launch the first earth observation satellite and establishment of a ground station following a comprehensive tendering process.
In its current strategic plan, NSSA has focused on building national capacity in the fields of earth observation satellite construction, satellite operations, and data and image processing and analysis to establish a well-qualified team that can help achieve NSSA goals.
In summary, some of the capacity building opportunities provided included attending post graduate studies in the UK and UAE in relevant space fields, attending specialized training courses in India and Russia for Nanosatellite Assembly and others in Netherlands for satellite data and image processing and analysis.
Building capacity also included working on projects that achieve knowledge transfer, most notably is having a group of the BST work on building 2 CubeSats as part of their higher education studies in the UAE.
NSSA focused on exposing the nation to or educating them about the latest trends in space science, technologies and applications through initiating and participating in several local events, that vary depending on the targeted community, taking into consideration many factors such as age group, level of knowledge, type of event and target outcome.