Up, up and away
Virgin Galactic, partly owned by Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments, has just unveiled the world’s first commercial spaceship.
December 8, 2009 2:28 by Aarti Nagraj
As part of the deal, Aabar will be constructing spaceport facilities in Abu Dhabi, and will also have exclusive regional rights to host Virgin Galactic tourism and scientific research space flights. Aabar has also committed $100 million to fund a small satellite launch capability.
Apart from space tourism, Abu Dhabi has also invested up to $800 million on building the Gulf Earth Observation Centre, which is expected to be completed by mid 2010, according to a report in The National.
But it’s not just Abu Dhabi; the entire region is pursuing interest in space-related technologies and investment.
“The larger dream is the creation of an Arab Space Agency, but there are critical elements of space industry capability that must be in place first,” Mohamed Argoun the former director of the Egyptian Space Program said at the Global Space Technology Forum, a three-day gathering of regional and international space experts currently held in Abu Dhabi.
“We must develop a joint remote-sensing Arab satellite project first, and see the establishment of indigenous private sector space companies to form partnerships with international companies and push for greater development of the region’s space industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dubai-based Arab Youth Venture Foundation has teamed up with NASA for a program which will enable up to 12 engineering students from the UAE to join US students to work on a research project at the US space agency’s Research Center in California. The venture could begin by next month, NASA said on Monday.
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