Egyptian Space Agencies
Since the early part of the twentieth century, Egypt has been interested in space sciences and their use, including: (a) Astronomical studies. The Helwan Observatory has enjoyed a wide reputation for decades; (b) Meteorological applications, including the use of satellite data and their relation to global climate change; (c) Communications, with space segments and ground networks; (d) Remote sensing applications in a multitude of fields, including geology, soil and agriculture, urban planning, antiquities, environment, engineering and natural hazards.
Egyptian Space Science and Technology Research Council
In order to achieve more coordination and cooperative thinking, the Egyptian Space Science and Technology Research Council was established. The Council is affiliated to the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology and comes under the aegis of the Ministry of State for Scientific Research. The Council includes 125 members who represent the main Egyptian actors in the field of space research and studies.
The structure of the Space Science and Technology Research Council includes the following four divisions: Peaceful Uses of Space and Strategic Studies; Space Technologies and Space Vehicles; Applications and Technologies of Remote Sensing and Climatic Change;and Communications, Navigation and Basic Space Sciences.
The Council has set up an Egyptian national space programme in order to accelerate the peaceful applications of space and to help Egypt achieve its technological and development goals. The main objectives of the programme are: (a) To achieve scientific distinctiveness by manufacturing and launching an Earth observation remote sensing satellite designed to serve desert territories in particular; (b) To build and develop capable scientific and technological cadres. Back-up training and education in the field of space technology and related industry, coupled with support for scientific departments, and specialized training programme abroad will be conducted. The United Nations specialized space training centres may provide support for this activity; (c) To take advantage of international space cooperation to enhance and expedite the Egyptian space programme by: obtaining international funding to cover at least some aspects of the programme; enhancing national expertise by participating in bilateral/multilateral joint projects; and organizing exchange visits between Egypt and developed countries on the basis of specific protocols for cooperation; (d) To use space technology as an incentive and catalyst for advanced technological industries in Egypt. Meanwhile, Egypt is focusing on the spin-off benefits of the products that space technology will generate; (e) To encourage the private sector to cooperate in space activities. This will support and maintain the Egyptian programme and is in line with Egypt's philosophy as regards privatization and the market economy.
National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences [NARSS]
The National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences [NARSS] has been established in 1991 as a General Authority for Remote Sensing belongs to the Ministry of State for Scientific Research. NARSS was then organizationally restructured in 1994; following the Presidential Decree No. 261 for 1992, as a National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences belongs to the Ministry of Scientific Research. NARSS is mainly aiming at promoting the use of the state of the art of space technology and Earth observation for the sustainable development of Egypt and introducing high technological capabilities into the local and regional market. Earlier remote sensing initiative has started in Egypt in 1971 within the frame of the Egyptian Academy of the Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) through an American-Egyptian joint project. This has enabled for the establishment of the Remote Sensing Centre (in 1972) under ASRT.
NARSS is the pioneering Egyptian institute in the field of space technology and earth observation. NARSS is an outreach institution with two large sectors for remote sensing applications and space science and technology. The sector of remote sensing application works on the use of data provided by earth observation satellites and various airborne sensors to produce maps and spatial data for various applications such as the evaluation and monitoring of natural resources, natural hazards and environmental management. The sector of space science and technology is concerned with the development of sensors to be mounted on the earth observation satellites, satellite subsystems and space research. The sector is alsoconcerned with the control and communication with the satellites as well as receiving the data for archiving and dissemination.
NARSS has a sum of about 50 scientists with outstanding research capabilities, of which 12 Professors (including the Chairman and the Vice Chairman), eight Associate Professor and 28 Researchers. In addition, a number of about thirty young scientists (22 Assistant Researcher and 18 Research Assistant) are also collaborating and sharing scientific and technical activities at NARSS. The scientific community belongs to eight different divisions and characterizes by the various scientific disciplines related to space science, GI and remote sensing. At the same time, this workforce could be augmented by selected scientific expert members from local universities or/and research institutes. Besides, there are more than a hundred experts and engineers working in the space program and about one hundred fifty personal in finance, administrative, and personnel affairs.
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