NSSA represented the Kingdom of Bahrain at the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency (APRSAF) online 2020 forum, which launched its virtual edition on Thursday, 19 November 2020, under the theme ‘Sharing Space Visions Beyond Distance’. NSSA received an invitation from the Japanese Space Agency JAXA to participate in this distinguished activity. It was represented by the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mohamed Ebrahim Al-Aseeri, and by the Head of the Strategic Planning & Project Administration, Ms. Amal Jassem Albinali. A few of NSSA’s engineers and technicians, each within his/her own discipline, also took part in several panel discussions.

On his participation as a keynote speaker at the conference, NSSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mohamed Ebrahim Al-Aseeri, said: ‘The conference this year brought together representatives from space agencies, government organizations, private sector companies, universities, research institutes and international organizations in the Asia-Pacific region in order to achieve its main objective of seeking to take measures to contribute to social and economic development and the preservation of the global environment through space science, technologies and applications. The objective also includes providing opportunities to exchange views and information on national space program and resources in the participating countries, discuss potential future cooperation among developers and users of space technologies in order to achieve mutual benefits, identify areas of common interest and arrange priorities in light of the exceptional circumstances currently experienced by the world during this period. This is in addition to reviewing the progress and implementation of plans and programs to enhance cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region.’

Dr. Al-Aseeri added: ‘This is the first participation by NSSA in this conference. However, it attracted the interest of other participating parties. The invitation included the selection of NSSA as a keynote speaker at the conference. A special film was shown about NSSA since its inception. The film focused on explaining NSSA’s role, activities, achievements and prospective plans. Ms. Amal Jassem Albenali also participated in the preparation of the film’s material and took part in its implementation. The film was chosen by the Organizing Committee for display at the platform of the conference.’

Dr. Al-Aseeri concluded by emphasizing that, ‘Such conferences contribute to benefitting from global experiences and enhancing cooperation between space agencies in order to implement projects that serve humanity and achieve prosperity for humanity. The NSSA is keen to actively participate in international conferences and meetings of this kind of work, to ensure that its members gain experience and to keep them acquainted with the latest developments in their professions. NSSA is keen to build national capabilities in the space sector, sciences and multiple applications, in an effort to implement its strategic plan approved by the Council of Ministers for the period 2019–2023, which is consistent with the Government’s work program and in line with Bahrain’s 2030 Economic Vision.’

On her part, Ms. Amal Jassem Albinali, NSSA’s Head of Strategic Planning & Project Management, pointed out that, ‘The organizing authority expressed keen interest in NSSA’s participation in the activities of this conference and review of its strategic planning, as well as its current and future projects. Means of cooperation in space activities were discussed, and a NSSA film was prepared and selected by the Organizing Committee for display on the electronic website and platform of the conference.’

It is the first time in the history of this conference to be held virtually. A copy of this year’s film was edited in the country headquarters, Japan, as well as in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia. Besides international organizations, representatives of 40 countries participated in this conference. Currently, the conference comprises four working groups, namely, The Space Applications, Space Technology, Use of Space Environment, and Education & Space. They serve to exchange relevant information about the future activities and plans of each country and region. The conference also supports the formation of international projects to serve in solving international common issues such as disasters and protection of the environment, so that participating parties may benefit from cooperation.