Regulations to focus on space economy

Sarwat Nasir
Filed on August 8, 2018 | Last updated on August 8, 2018 at 11.16 pm
Regulations to focus on space economy

(KT file)

He said commercialising the space industry has "become a trend" and that governments are keen on having private sector investments.

The UAE Space Agency is keen on developing appropriate laws and regulations to attract private sector investors in the country's space industry.

The chief of the UAE Space Agency, Dr Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, said they have recently completed a Space Investment Strategy, which aims to encourage local companies to invest in space. He said that investors often consider space as "high risk" and want the proper laws and regulations that will protect them legally.

"We are working on space regulations as well. You have to think about the space economy. Investors want to make sure if they invest, they have the right environment. So we need space regulations and laws to protect the local operator and to encourage foreign investors," Dr Al Ahbabi said.

"And this is our plan now - to focus on building capability but also to try to establish a space economy and encourage local SMEs and universities through funding in hope that they will be inspired. We try to encourage companies to establish space companies in the UAE. It will take some time but we are building the basis and enablers and I think it's coming."

He said commercialising the space industry has "become a trend" and that governments are keen on having private sector investments.

The US Space Agency Nasa is working with private companies such as Boeing and SpaceX. Nasa recently announced its crew of nine astronauts who will carry out the first test in commercial space flights.

"The governments want to push private sectors into investing in space and this is the right thing for sustainability. The governments will put some money, but they need the private sector to bring investment and ideas," he said.

The UAE is also trying to make its mark in the commercial space industry through its partnership with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic - a spacecraft that aims to promote space tourism, with each ticket costing about $250,000.

Dr Al Ahbabi believes that Al Ain Airport would be best suited as a Virgin Galactic space port.

"We are in talks with Virgin Galactic to operate with the UAE. I think in the future, when that industry has matured, the UAE will be the best destination for them. It's not just Virgin, but also Blue Origin. We also did a study in Al Ain Airport and it's perfect for them because it's not busy."

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