DUBAI, – The UAE is reaping the benefits of investments made in the space sector decades ago as it prepares to work with private enterprise to launch a spacecraft that will travel 3.6 billion kilometres, Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri told Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Business Forum yesterday (19 October).
HE Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Chair of the UAE Space Agency and the Emirates Scientists Council, and the Deputy Project Manager of the Emirates Mars Mission, was addressing the first day of forum, which is bringing together government bodies, the private sector and research organisations to explore new business and investment opportunities in the aerospace industry.
She said the 3.6-billion-kilometre journey to visit the asteroid belt, with a fly-by past Venus, will be “an immense endeavour that we couldn’t have done without investments … in the space sector decades ago and choices by [our] wise leadership”.
The forum heard that space industry will be worth USD 2.3 trillion by 2030, according to an estimate by consulting firm Merrill Lynch. Attendees were told that the industry is a melting pot for research education and innovation with wide societal benefits for climate change and the environment, as well as helping countries such as the UAE achieve their future sustainability goals.
Delivering the keynote address at the forum, HE Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, Official Business Integrator of Expo 2020 Dubai, said the space industry will be key to the UAE in the coming decades.
HE Hamad Buamim said: “There could not be a more opportune time and place to have a discussion on this sector, which is growing and evolving at an exponential pace, and is set to become one of UAE’s most promising sectors and a key pillar of economic growth over the next 50 years. The space sector is not only important by itself, but is also an enable for the growth of other sectors, as it is witnessing profound developments lead by major innovation and digital transformation. Its growth is being driven by the development of ever-increasing governmental space programmes globally, the entry of commercial actors in value chains, and sturdy digitalisation trends.
“The space industry will play a major role in helping us achieve our sustainability goals and is the way for the future. The forum offered a glimpse into that future as it highlighted new business opportunities, cutting-edge technologies, and progress achieved by the UAE, public and private sectors’ latest developments and progresses in the space industry, as well as encouraging venture investments, and the sector’s contribution to a thriving knowledge-based international economy.”
HE Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri told the forum that more than 25 countries at Expo 2020 are using space as their primary theme: “This shows you the spectrum of expertise that goes into designing and developing any technology or any utilisation for the space sector. This wealth of diversity is what pushes the space sector forward.
“Businesses do not need to own an asset in space in order to benefit from the space economy. From a societal aspect addressing to enabling logistical systems to facilitating urban planning better farming practices, food production practices and many other implications, products and services – all that could be done without owning any asset in space.
“The cost of launching will continue to go down, providing an opportunity to revisit the way we design and produce space craft and design and develop the payloads or the utilisation of those spacecrafts to make them more low-cost to transform them from something that is bespoke to something that is designed to reused to lower costs and provides businesses with another arm to enter into [the space sector].
“I don’t look at [the space sector] as a local endeavour or a drive to developing capabilities in one country, but rather as a global endeavour, because any piece developed in any one country significantly advances our capability in the space sector, making [it] more accessible to all. And this is where we need to ensure we are investing our time and effort.”