UAE joins project to modernise world’s first spaceport

The letter of intent was signed between the UAE, Russia and Kazakhstan


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Tue 16 Nov 2021, 9:41 PM

The UAE has joined a ‘trilateral agreement’ with Russia and Kazakhstan for the facelift of the world’s first spaceport for orbital and human launches.

The Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site Gagarin’s Start - also referred to as Site No. 1 - will be modernised as part of the new partnership.

The letter of intent was signed by the UAE Space Agency, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, during the Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central.

Together, the countries will accelerate efforts to create a legal framework for the development of the spaceport as well as carry out joint activities to attract foreign direct investment for the launch site, which was named after Soviet-era cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space in 1961.

Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, said: “The agreement between the UAE, Russia and Kazakhstan represents the aspirations of supporting the peaceful exploration of outer space. Russia and Kazakhstan have a proven record in the space industry and we are pleased to lay the foundations for a closer cooperation between the three countries.”

This agreement also lays down a framework to establish closer cooperation in all space-related fields.

“The combination of expertise, experience and shared resources will accelerate progress towards a more competitive global space economy. Joint plans to work together to attract investment and modernise the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome demonstrate the potential for global cooperation that advances mutual interests in space flight, scientific progress, technological innovation and sustainable economic growth,” Al Amiri said.


The trilateral agreement comes weeks after the UAE Space Agency and Roscosmos signed a memorandum of understanding at Expo 2020 Dubai to promote the use of outer space for peaceful purposes and tighten cooperation in priority areas.

Meanwhile, the UAE and Kazakhstan signed a strategic economic partnership in October to develop long-term strategic projects worth more than $6 billion in energy, agri-industrial, transport, logistics, pharmaceutical and financial sectors.

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