More than half of UAE residents ready to jet off to space: Survey


Dubai - Majority of them want to go into space to see how Earth looks from up there


Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 1 Sep 2021, 3:14 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Sep 2021, 3:27 PM

A majority of the UAE residents – 51 per cent – are willing to take a flight to space - if price constraint is not a challenge for them, according to a new survey released on Wednesday.

In the poll conducted by YouGov among 1,028 residents between August 11 and 18, 25 per cent of people in the UAE were indecisive about taking a flight to space, while 24 per cent said they will not buy a ticket even if they can afford it.

Space tourism may soon be a reality, thanks to a strong push from private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

The US billionaires Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson are aggressively promoting space tourism. Bezos even made a short journey to space in July 2021, accompanied by his brother Mark Bezos and Wally Funk, a pioneer in the space race. Branson also reached the edges of space onboard his Virgin Galactic rocket plane in July, returning to the Earth an hour after leaving the ground. The duo hope to fly passengers to space in suborbital flights by early next year.

The UAE’s stellar achievement of being the first Arab nation to reach Mars this year, has also enticed residents to look at space tourism. The UAE-based Pakistani Namira Salim flew to New Mexico in July to see billionaire Richard Branson jet off to space, aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity SpaceShip Two. She is also the first female member of the first Astronomy Society of Pakistan, Amastropak.

The YouGov survey found that interest among younger adults aged between 18 and 44 years is higher when compared to older adults aged 45 and above. Similarly, men are more likely to get themselves a ticket for a suborbital flight, provided money wasn’t a concern. Around 55 per cent of men in the UAE will buy a ticket as against 43 per cent of women.

Logically, people with high-income groups earning Dh25,000 and above are more inclined towards space travel compared to the lesser income groups.

Why do UAE residents want to go into space?

The majority of the residents, 53 per cent, want to go into space to experience something unique and see the view of earth from space while others say that they want to experience weightlessness or view other planets in zero gravity conditions.

Though some – 34 per cent – cite it as a lifetime dream or goal to fly into space, others who are indecisive or not keen to go into space say that they could utilise the money in something else because the flight would be easy.

Around 28 per cent of UAE residents fear that the flight experience will be unsafe, while 19 per cent are not interested in going to space at all.

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