UAE explores ways to strengthen space economy with Blue Origin

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Blue Origin
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UAE Ministry of Economy, along with the Ministry of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, held a meeting with Blue Origin, the aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight service company to explore the space economy.

During the meeting, Mr. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy emphasized that the Ministry is keen to enhance promising global partnerships with leading private institutions in vital future and sustainable economic sectors.

The meeting was also attended by the representatives of AzurX, a Dubai-based technology, and strategic sectors investment company, strategic advisor to Blue Origin in the Middle East.

The strategic objectives will be driving the transformation towards a sustainable and resilient economic model to keep pace with future trends across the various sectors, while focusing on the pillars of knowledge, innovation, high-tech, and advanced digital technologies, along with new economy sectors including space economy, Mr. Al Marri noted.

The two parties discussed promoting collaboration to explore new investment opportunities in the space economy and space tourism services, expanding the scope of Research and Development (R&D) in space to develop the emerging space technology in UAE. In order to strengthen the facilitators of the UAE’s future economic development, these activities will focus on Industry 4.0 applications and space innovation.

UAE highlighted its main achievements in space as it became the region’s first country to develop an integrated space ecosystem and advanced infrastructure and corporate frameworks in this regard, and launch missions to explore the space such as the Hope Probe.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri
Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri
UAE Minister of Economy

“In line with the goals of the UAE Centennial 2071, the national economic vision for the coming era focuses on enhancing the role of enablers in new economy sectors and bolstering space as one of their drivers. Through this collaboration, we look forward to leveraging Blue Origin’s leading expertise in-space manufacturing and space and low Earth orbit flight services to support the UAE’s plans. We are also keen to expand the scope of our partnerships with Blue Origin to build and develop space tourism and enhance the national efforts in this respect.”

The space sector’s added value in the UAE has reached approximately $816 million, and the country’s investments in this sector have amounted to $6 billion to date. 

The sector provides more than 3,200 jobs, and over 57 space companies and entities are currently operating in the UAE, including startups, and 5 space science research centers. In recent years, the UAE’s total foreign trade of aerospace vehicles and their parts has reached $52 billion.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs explained that the UAE is strengthening its position as a global hub for innovation and pilot projects.

The country has the institutional environment, vast experiences, stimulating policies, infrastructure, and advanced technology to attract companies operating in future sectors, including space, which opens many economic opportunities for SMEs and startups based on innovation and technology, Mr. Al Falasi added.

During the meeting, Mr. Brent Sherwood, Senior Vice President of Blue Origin underlined the most significant economic and industrial prospects related to space tourism and low-Earth-orbit space operations. The company shed light on its pilot project ‘Orbital Reef’, which was launched during its participation in the International Space Conference 2021 in Dubai.

Blue Origin, founded by Mr. Jeff Bezos, is one of the world’s leading companies in the aerospace industries and space and orbital flight services. The company supports the development of technology to facilitate access to space to make flights more possible with significantly lower costs.

Related: UAE Space Agency rolls out $1mn contest to tackle food & climate crisis