Space Material Business Workshop Launches Private Space Sector Development Campaign

The Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt (EMA), the first multi-asteroid tour and landing mission to the main belt, represents business opportunities for UAE-based companies. That was the message delivered during two workshops held at the Dubai office of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency—which were moved to two sessions due to double the expected number of participants.

“Arrival through the roof. We had planned for 50-60 participants and on the day, we were able to share the opportunities of our growing private aerospace industry with more than 160 representatives of existing companies and start-ups,” said EMA Program Director Mohsen Al Awadi. „Many of those present had concrete plans for business development opportunities, which directly map to the opportunities we want to create not just for EMA, but for the UAE’s private aerospace industry as a whole.”

More Space Means business events are now planned at local, regional and international levels as the space agency launches a global recruitment drive for new business and talent to invest in the Emirates. The aim of the campaign is to identify the immediate business opportunities that the EMA mission presents to business and to share a road map for the continued support and development of research, innovation and a valuable heritage to deliver to participants in the fast-growing global space market.

EMA alone will drive significant economic opportunities, including new start-ups, international partnerships and inward investments in the UAE space sector, creating new business opportunities to accelerate the growth of innovation and advanced technology companies in the Emirates. The Space Means Business campaign will promote academics, potential start-ups, existing global space industry players and companies capable of leveraging existing R&D and operations to meet the needs of the space industry.

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The UAE National Space Strategy supports the provision of start-up and investment funds, provides spacecraft integration and test (AIT) facilities as a service and mission functions to support and encourage start-ups and innovation. In addition, the UAE Space Agency provides business development support for Emirati space start-ups, zero-barrier entry office and back-office facilities, and ongoing mentoring and funding as part of its Space Economic Zones initiative.
EMA’s development is supported by the UAE Space Agency-led Space Academy, a training program for the UAE’s space sector that accelerates the development of engineering, technology and innovation expertise in multinational companies.

EMA involved a thirteen-year mission: a six-year spacecraft development period, followed by a seven-year flight to the main asteroid belt beyond Mars, with a series of close flybys to make individual observations of seven main belt asteroids. A chaotic spectral red asteroid, (269) Justidea. The mission builds on the learnings, capabilities, innovations and heritage of the Emirates Mars Mission and aims to further accelerate the development of Emirates’ private space sector and national capabilities in advanced technology innovation.

The mission’s spacecraft was named MBR Explorer in recognition of the fundamental role played by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the creation and development of the UAE space program.

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