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Yemen in Space

Yemen is one of the world's poorest countries, and the poorest outside of Africa. It does not have an agency, which is no surprise, but also no infrastructure in which one would arise. The Universities of Sanaa and Aden do not offer courses in astrophysics, astronautics or aeronautics. Prof. Abdul Haq Sultan, Head of Physics Department, Faculty of Science, Sana'a University, during the four years 2004-2007 devoted most of his research-time to investigate a photometrical model for the first visibility of the lunar crescent. As the Arabian Peninsula is the richest in oil but the poorest in the domain of space sciences, the largest telescope in the region does not exceed 45cm. A.H.Sultan is searching - in collaboration with a colleague from Swaziland - for the ideal site on the Arabian Peninsula summits for the installation of a regional observatory. A.H.Sultan participated in the International Heliophysical Year [IHY], whichofficially closed as of March 2009. Many aspects of IHY are being continued through the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI).

The government has no ministry devoted to science of this type. The government of Yemen in Sana'a has no plans for attempting to further any ambition in space development or research. Though Yemen currently has no satellites of its own, it does have a receiving station where it gathers images from different satellites circling the earth. The Yemen Remote Sensing and GIS Center has been under construction since 2006, and the center has already been in use for two years.

In May 2008 the French Cultural Center in cooperation with Sana'a University, Yemen, presented an exhibition of satellite photos along with information to encourage aspiring scientists to use such technology. The photo show, called "The Earth Viewed From Above," was on display at the Jamal Abdul Nasser exposition room at the old University of Sana'a campus until May 28 and then after that at the French Cultural Center in Sana'a. Dr. Khaled Khanbari, who helps run the satellite imaging department in the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, agreed that digital aerial photos like the ones on display can better all kinds of work from urban planning to farming by tracking the earth's environmental changes from above. Dr. Khaled KHANBARI is Vice Chairman of Yemen Remote Sensing and GIS Center. Combination of SPOT imagery, field analysis and Digital Terrain Model (DTM) analysis, are used to mapping and to study the structures and tectonic evolution of the Tertiary volcanics and granites of Yemen related to Afar mantle plume which impacted the Arabia-Africa area during the Oligocene.



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