Japanese astronaut welcomes UAE space industry growth 

Koichi Wakata. (Photo supplied)
Short Url
Updated 14 January 2020

Japanese astronaut welcomes UAE space industry growth 

  • Koichi Wakata believes KhalifaSat and planned launch of a Mars mission represent exciting advances in UAE space technology
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the UAE Space Agency seek to strengthen cooperation in exploration

A Japanese astronaut has welcomed advances in the UAE’s space industry following the launch of KhalifaSat.

It was the first satellite to be fully engineered and built in the UAE and was launched into space from an island south of Japan’s mainland in 2018, a milestone for Arab space program.  

The launch was followed by Hazza Al-Mansoori becoming the first Arab to journey to the International Space Station (ISS).

Japanese astronaut and member of the UAE’s space advisory committee, Koichi Wakata, said that the launch of KhalifaSat on the Mitsubishi H2A rocket and the expected launch of the Mars Mission represented exciting advances in space technology.

“It’s amazing to see the steady growth in space activities, and young people in the UAE are fascinated with science and technology,” Wakata told Arab News. “I was very excited to ask this year about Al-Mansoori, the first Emirates astronaut. He conducted an educational event in the Japanese Kibo laboratory on the ISS. I’m very happy Japan is part of the development in space technology in the UAE.”

Al-Mansoori conducted 16 scientific experiments in cooperation with international space agencies, including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

In 2016, JAXA and the UAE Space Agency signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation in space exploration for peaceful scientific purposes.


Virus sees Booking.com slash quarter of global staff

Updated 04 August 2020

Virus sees Booking.com slash quarter of global staff

  • The company warned that “up to 25 percent” of employees could go in what it called an “extremely difficult step”
  • Booking.com’s Amsterdam headquarters was expected to be among the sites affected

THE HAGUE: Online travel agency Booking.com said Tuesday it will cut up to a quarter of staff worldwide due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leading to thousands of job losses.
The Amsterdam-based booking site, which employs around 17,500 people around the world, declined to give an exact number of posts that will be slashed, saying details would become clearer “in the coming weeks and months.”
But it warned that “up to 25 percent” of employees could go in what it called an “extremely difficult step.”
“The Covid-19 crisis has devastated the travel industry, and we continue to feel the impact as travel volumes remain significantly reduced,” the company said in a statement sent to AFP.
“While we have done much to save as many jobs as possible, we believe we must restructure our organization to match our expectation of the future of travel,” it added.
Booking.com’s Amsterdam headquarters was expected to be among the sites affected, Dutch media reports added.
Hard-hit by the slowdown in international travel resulting from the lockdown, Booking.com follows in the footsteps of other digital travel sites such as Airbnb and TripAdviser, which have also laid off around 25 percent of their workforce.
Booking.com applied in April for state support.
Last month it received some 61 million euros ($71.8 million) from the Dutch state, making it the third-largest recipient of support behind flagship airline KLM and Dutch Rail (NS), the ANP national news agency reported.
Founded in 1996, Booking.com has some 28 million listings on its website which is available in 43 languages.