Sheikh Khalifa issues new Space Law for foreign investment

The UAE Space Agency has announced details of the new Space Law issued by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Agency said the law will be the first of its kind in the Arab world, and aims to create a legislative and regulatory environment for the national space sector.

The UAE Space Law consists of nine chapters and 54 articles that regulate space activities across the country and governs the Agency’s role, state news agency WAM reported.

It clarifies the mechanism for issuing space activity permits; registering space objects and vehicles; responsibility and insurance regulations for space activities; space accidents and risks regulations; the transitional period for current operators regulations; the provisions for regulating the construction of facilities on other planets, as well as the utilization of space resources and developing space debris mitigation measures, it added.

The new law aims to protect the UAE’s interests by establishing a balance between economic and commercial requirements, encourage innovation, adhere to the requirements of security, safety, and protect the environment, as well as drive investment and promote the participation of the private sector in the space industry.

Dr Ahmed bin Abdulla Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The new law regulates space activities to facilitate the development of a prosperous and safe space sector in the UAE, which realizes our wise leadership’s vision for the sector.

“It also sets a clear framework for the rights and duties of officials and establishments operating in this sector and guarantees the rights of all relevant parties, in compliance with the international agreements and treaties signed by the UAE.”

He added: “The law will be a key factor in opening the doors for investment in the national space sector to various global companies, due to its legislative and regulatory environment, which provides foreign investors with assurance ahead of starting their business and projects in the UAE.”

The Agency drafted the law in collaboration with top international experts to ensure that the law meets the current and future trends for the sector.

The law comes as the global space industry is currently worth more than $400 billion.

The UAE space industry’s investments have exceeded Dh22 billion and has provided 1,500 jobs while the commercial space sector in the UAE includes the seventh largest satellite operator in the world in terms of revenue, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company.

In 2019, the UAE had six new space start-ups including four of them being established by Emirati nationals.