Signed gift given in recognition of the UAE and USA's friendship
The UAE Space Agency was yesterday presented with a US flag that flew to the moon on Apollo 14 in 1971. At a special ceremony at the Dubai Airshow, the gift was handed to Chairman of the UAE Space Agency board, HE Dr Khalifa Mohammed Al Rumaithi, and the agency's Director General, HE Dr Mohammad Nasser Al Ahbabi, by Tom Kallman, President and CEO of Kallman Worldwide.
The six inch by four inch flag, carried on the lunar module Kitty Hawk and signed by module pilot Edgar Mitchell, was presented mounted with an Apollo 14 patch and bearing the inscription: 'In the spirit of innovation, exploration and discovery that unites all mankind, we present this flag of the United States, flown to the moon on Apollo 14, January 31 – February 9, 1971, to the UAE Space Agency, with sincere best wishes for success.'
Handing over the gift, Mr Kallman said: "Today, two milestone events of 1971, the successful flight of Apollo 14 in February and the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in December of that year, come together for the first time here at the Dubai Airshow. We are gathered here in a gesture of goodwill and partnership, with leaders of the American space and aerospace industry, to present the American flag, flown on that lunar mission, to the UAE Space Agency.
"The Agency was founded in 2014 with plans for a future mission to Mars, and last month it became the first Arab nation to join the International Space Exploration Coordination Group. We all watch in excitement as the mission comes closer to Mars. The Apollo mission had an extraordinary influence on the aerospace industry and the presenters of this flag carry the DNA of the Apollo programme in their bodies. Now, from nation to nation and people to people, we are proud to present this gift as a symbol of goodwill and partnership with the UAE Space Agency and the new generation of pioneers and professional who will engineer its vision to the future."
In response, Dr Al Rumaithi, said: "It is my pleasure to be here at this gathering, which is very important to us. It is an honour to receive this gift to the Space Agency and I know that it will inspire our young people towards our target to put the UAE on the space map. We have had a very long relationship with the US space industry and we are happy to have many distinguished guests here today to sustain that relationship."
The presentation was made on behalf of multiple US companies, including the US Department of Commerce, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, the State of Florida, Raytheon, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Boeing and Orbital ATK. Also in attendance was Vice President of Mission Assurance for Raytheon Space Systems, retired-NASA astronaut Robert Curbeam, a veteran of three space missions who holds the record for the most space walks ever undertaken in a single mission.
Following the event, Michele van Akelijen, Managing Director of Dubai Airshow organisers F&E Aerospace, said: "We have been delighted to welcome the UAE Space Agency to the Dubai Airshow for the first time, and are honoured to have been able to host this symbolic gathering. The Dubai Airshow is at the forefront of the aerospace industry and today's service is proof of its effectiveness in bringing industry leaders together in a spirit of cooperation."