The anticipation is palpable as the 18th cycle of the Dubai Airshow approached later this year, promising to be an event like no other in the history of aerospace exhibitions. In a groundbreaking move, space has been added as a major vertical, reflecting the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) impressive journey into the realm of space technology and exploration. To gain insights into this remarkable venture, the Dubai Airshow sat down with Ibrahim Al Qasim, Vice Director General of the UAE Space Agency, who shared his thoughts on the UAE’s approach to space and its participation in the Dubai Airshow.
Celebrating 26 years since the inception of its space program, the UAE has achieved remarkable feats that have captured global attention.
“We’ve made some huge strides in building national capabilities in Earth observation, in training astronauts and sending missions to Mars and hopefully soon to the asteroid belt,” said Al Qasim.
The UAE’s commitment to advancing its space capabilities is a testament to its determination to be at the forefront of space exploration.
Central to the UAE’s strategy over the next five to ten years is the emphasis on fostering major capabilities within the private sector. Al Qasim envisions an environment that nurtures startups in the space industry, encouraging them to establish themselves in the UAE and actively participate in national programs. He highlights the Dubai Airshow as an ideal platform for achieving this vision, having previously generated business opportunities worth upwards of 3 trillion dirhams (US $816,750,900,000) over its 18 cycles.
The exciting prospect of private space exploration has become increasingly feasible and affordable.
Affordable & Feasible
“Space has never been more affordable and private space has never been so feasible,” Al Qasim remarked.
With partners both domestic and international, the UAE aims to showcase its burgeoning space capabilities at the Dubai Airshow. Companies and institutes operating in various aspects of space, such as Strada and the RSC, will exhibit their upstream achievements, while startups will be featured in the midstream, focusing on the operation of space assets. This comprehensive approach, from upstream to downstream, highlights the UAE’s commitment to building a sustainable and diverse space ecosystem.
In line with the UAE’s overarching goals, the Dubai Airshow offers a unique opportunity to connect industry leaders and policymakers to address challenges, foster innovation, and create a sustainable path forward. Al Qasim emphasizes the importance of collaboration in alleviating risks associated with research and development costs, as well as the need to address emerging challenges in space sustainability.
“Space is vast and definitely a finite resource that we are very capable of cluttering today and using up entirely,” he warned.
As the UAE commemorates the “Year of Sustainability,” the Dubai Airshow will serve as a platform to initiate conversations about responsible space practices and a model for a more sustainable future.
A highlight of this year’s Dubai Airshow is the unveiling of the UAE’s ambitious plans for asteroid exploration.
“This has been a very exciting year for us specifically with the announcement of the asteroid belt and the scientific objectives,” said Al Qasim.
Building on the success of the Emirates Mars mission, the asteroid program promises to be the nation’s flagship initiative, further solidifying its international collaborations and creating new opportunities for startups.
As the UAE steps into the spotlight at the Dubai Airshow, it is evident that the nation’s dedication to space technology and exploration is unwavering. With a strategic focus on the private sector, sustainability, and cutting-edge projects like asteroid exploration, the UAE’s presence in the global space industry is set to soar to even greater heights. The DubaiAirshow serves not only as a celebration of the UAE’s achievements but also as a testament to the nation’s commitment to innovation, collaboration, and a boundless future in the cosmos.
SOURCE: Dubai Airshow
Featured image: ‘UAE Space Agency Interview.’ Credit: DubaiAirshow