The law was passed by the Cabinet, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, in late 2019.
The law is the first of its kind in the Arab and Islamic world and aims to create a legislative and regulatory environment for the national space sector in line with international treaties and at the same time aims to protect UAE’s interests and drive investment in the local space industry.
The law, which consists of 9 chapters and 54 articles that regulate space activities across the UAE, comes at an opportune moment in the global space sector as New Space continues to present new frontiers for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses, including those recently incubated within the UAE in partnership with KryptoLabs and Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, to enter the market and contribute to the sector’s growth and development.
The global space industry is currently worth more than US$400 billion, including countless opportunities for businesses and governments. As an emerging space nation, the UAE space industry’s investments have exceeded AED 22 billion. The UAE Space sector has provided 1,500 rewarding jobs, at 57 space-related entities, five space research and development centres, and three universities offering space degrees. Moreover, 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 (Yahsat), and Thuraya Telecommunications Company (Thuraya).
HE 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 realises 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.”
The new regulation 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 utilisation of space resources and developing space debris mitigation measures.