Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

Book Review: The Race To Space By Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre

Hear from one of our passionate readers!

“Standing in the UAE’s deep desert at night, far from sources of light pollution like the cities, you can look up at the clear sky and see the wonder of the stars in their infinite heaven. That carpet of tiny lights is the same sight that would have met the anatomically modern humans as they left Africa, crossed the then-shallow waterway we know as the Red Sea and made their way to populate the world.” 

The Race to Space: The Story Behind the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, the Home of the UAE National Space Programme a book by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and published by Motivate Books was memorably launched at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2019 by UAE astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi during their first public appearance after their selection for the UAE astronaut program.

Chronicling the UAE’s space aspiration and its realization, this book is a comprehensive history of the fascination of the UAE, as well as the Arab World with space exploration. The Race to Space skillfully takes the readers on a riveting journey which spans centuries and seamlessly blends together the past, present, and future; opening with a reflection on the works of the ancient astronomers and then proceeding to the modern day achievements in space science and travel and closing with a chapter very aptly titled "The Unwritten Chapter”.

The UAE is a country which has innovation and forward thinking weaved into its DNA. And this wonderful book captures this spirit beautifully. We get a detailed description of the establishment of the UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) and how the country is taking rapid strides towards becoming the global hub for space science studies. The book covers everything from the start of the UAE astronaut program, to the launch of the first ever UAE satellite (the Khalifa Satellite), and the Hope Probe, as well as the UAE's ambitious goal to establish the first inhabitable human settlement in Mars by the year 2117. 

The Race to Space is a testimony to the UAE's endless ambition. For the UAE, the sky has never been the limit, space beckons and the nation is ready to answer that call. The massive and quiet outer space holds the answers to many of the challenges humanity is facing right now and the dynamic leadership of the UAE comprehends this completely. Hence space exploration is gaining momentum rapidly. 

Whether you are a dedicated space enthusiast or someone who wishes to learn more about space and UAE's aspirations, endeavours and inspiring achievements, this is a book that will give you an impressive insight into as well as ignite the wish to know more about the quiet expansive power of space. 

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Mishal Faraz is a student at The Winchester School, Jebel Ali. An identified talented learner, Mishal has been the recipient of Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance, the Sharjah Award for Excellence, and the Sheikha Fatima Award for Educational Excellence. She has loved books ever since she can remember and believes that words are the most potent tools of transformation in the world. Besides reading, Mishal is passionate about environmental protection and was awarded the 2020 Diana Award for her environmental and civic endeavours.