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International Astronautical Congress (IAC)
El-Shawa, S, 2020, Jordan and the United Nations Space2030 Agenda: A Roadmap for Space and Sustainable Development
Jordan has a large youth population, and interest in space is growing in the region. Jordanians with an interest in space currently have to work overseas in order to pursue careers in the space industry, but with the growing space presence in the Middle East, Jordan is in a prime position to invest in the space sector and retain young talent. Jordan is slowly beginning to gain momentum in space, with the first Jordanian satellite recently funded by the Crown Prince Foundation and designed by university students. This paper investigates Jordan’s national strategies and priorities, as well as its role in carrying out the United Nations Space2030 agenda, which aims to use space as a driver for peace. In 2017, Jordan took part in a voluntary review for the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, outlining its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Additionally, the Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education for Western Asia, which is based in Jordan, partnered with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs last year to host a workshop aimed at developing global partnership in space exploration and innovation, which resulted in recommendations for the region. The role of the regional groups such as the newly formed Arab Space Cooperation Group is also investigated, in terms of fostering collaborations between Jordan and other emerging space countries in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates. This work also includes an analysis of Jordan's current status pertaining to the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as existing infrastructure and initiatives that may be leveraged to establish Jordan as an emerging space country. Finally, recommendations and a preliminary roadmap linking the objectives of the UN Space2030 Agenda, the SDGs, and Jordan’s national priorities is presented in four categories: Jobs, Economy, and Public Private Partnerships; Education, Science, and Technology; Culture and Society; and Regional and Global Cooperation.
El-Shawa, S, Alzurikat, M, Alsaadi, J, Al Sona, G, Abu Sha'ar, Z, 2021, Valley of the Moon: Societal Benefits of Lunar Exploration in Jordan
Jordan’s political stability has aided in the country’s notable rapid growth these past few years, despite its limited natural and financial resources. Jordan is currently taking the lead in multiple sectors in the region, such as Education, Medicine, Information and Communications Technology, and more. The advancement of these industries has encouraged the progress and development of the Jordanian community as well. Similarly, space can contribute societal benefits in an emerging space country like Jordan. Under the Moon Village – Participation of Emerging Space Countries (MV-PESC) program, a roadmap for Jordan’s contribution to lunar exploration and the Jordan Space Research Initiative (JSRI) were created. This 20-year roadmap focuses on establishing an analog R&D facility for Moon and Mars in the Jordanian desert of Wadi Rum, locally known as the Valley of the Moon. This roadmap aims to support the following building blocks: Water Resource Management, Renewable Energy, In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and Robotics, Dust Mitigation, Agriculture, Smart City Infrastructure, and Women’s Health. These building blocks will advance research required for the Moon Village, while simultaneously contributing to sustainable development in Jordan. Due to the national importance which Wadi Rum holds, for being a tourist attraction site, a naturally protected area, and a homeland for the local nomadic tribes (The Bedouins), community engagement is a crucial aspect of this roadmap. Finding an appropriate way of approaching the local community in Wadi Rum, the general public in Jordan, local authorities and the government, is crucial to its success. This paper investigates how the implementation of the Moon Village PESC project in Jordan, as embodied by JSRI, will contribute to solving some of its most pressing societal and economic issues, such as water scarcity, while highlighting how the incorporation of space technology and research will play a major role in advancing Jordan’s existing research goals and initiatives. By linking the roadmap developed by JSRI to the preliminary Roadmap for Space and Sustainable Development (RSSD), which was introduced in a previous IAC paper titled “Jordan and the United Nations Space2030 Agenda: A Roadmap for Space and Sustainable Development” (2020), this paper also identifies ways in which the implementation of the Moon Village in Jordan will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the UN Space2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Symposium on Space Educational Activities (SSEA)
El-Shawa, S, Alzurikat, M, Abu Sha'ar, Z, Ashhab, M, 2022, The Importance of Outreach and Education for Emerging Space Countries
As countries around the world are racing towards realizing the common dream of humans creating long-term habitats in space, emerging space countries like Jordan, with no established space agency, are struggling to participate in the development of research and projects in the field. Additionally, due to the deteriorating economical situation in Jordan, students now seek professions with higher market demands and payment rates to ensure a safe career path. This led Jordanian students to overlook emerging fields of study like space. From here arises the need to conduct proper outreach to spread awareness on space research and its benefits, and to incorporate space studies in the Jordanian educational system in order to build a strong base of human resources in the field. Since Jordan is lacking in both educational and theoretical, as well as professional and practical sides, students mostly turn to completing their studies and gaining professional experience in the space field abroad. Therefore, before establishing Jordanian-targeted education programs and initiatives for space studies, there is the need for the establishment of local space institutes, projects, and programs which ensure that students will have access to training programs and practical experience as well as securing future job opportunities, thereby making space careers a viable option. In 2020, under the Moon Village Association's Participation of Emerging Space Countries program, a roadmap for Jordan’s contribution to lunar exploration and the Jordan Space Research Initiative (JSRI) were created. This 20-year roadmap focuses on establishing an analog R&D facility in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert, aiming to support the emerging space field in Jordan, while contributing to its national priorities and sustainable development goals. Beginning with the outreach element to foster space education, JSRI launched two space design competitions in 2021 to engage students and professionals interested in the field. These competitions allowed the participants to learn about spacesuit and rover design, as well as develop their own prototypes in a hands-on educational exercise. By providing funding and expert support, JSRI ensured that a diverse group of Jordanians was able to participate, regardless of their backgrounds. This approach proved to be successful in enabling the participation of various segments of the Jordanian society, and has shown that people with a passion for space can thrive through educational initiatives such as these competitions. Building on this success, future partnerships and educational initiatives are being established, aiding in the formation of a space network in Jordan.