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Russia-Mideast space cooperation still waiting for lift off

Moscow has actively resorted to a policy of diplomatic "spamming" — rubber-stamping protocol agreements to imitate the development of cooperation in the field of space.
In this handout provided by NASA, a Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft is launched bound for the International Space Station.

At the end of October, Russia and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement on the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. This is not the first Russian-Emirati accord dedicated to the space sector. In 2018, Roscosmos struck an agreement with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center allowing for the preparation and flight of the first UAE cosmonaut to the International Space Station. Finally in 2019, Roscosmos, the Russian Direct Investment Fund and investors from the UAE concluded a deal on the reconstruction of the Gagarin's Start, the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome that sent the pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space on April 12, 1961.

The quantity of agreements creates an impression of extremely close cooperation between Russia and the UAE in the field of space exploration. In Moscow, this narrative is actively promulgated by pro-government publications. Russian media draws attention to the military pilot Hazza Al Mansouri, who underwent a year's preparing at Yu. A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and visited the ISS as a space flight participant aboard the Soyuz MS-15 in September 2019.

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