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The vertical fin built at the Al Ain plant will be delivered to the Boeing factory in the US. As for Strata Manufacturing, it's gaze is not confined to the atmosphere alone. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Al Ain’s Strata isn’t one to limit itself to building for just one space.

Having just built and delivered a vertical fin to be used on Boeing’s Dreamliner 787 aircraft, the Mubadala-owned company is busy with making components for MMZ-SAT, the second UAE-made satellite that will be launched in 2023. This is as per a MoU with Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

“The aim of the MoU is to become the local manufacturing partner for space systems - this is a new area that we want to pursue,” said Ismail Abdulla, CEO of Strata Manufacturing. “We do have the manufacturing footprint, we do have some knowledge and it would support us to enter into that domain.

“We are actively engaged with MBRSC to look at other opportunities.”

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Innovation, not cost

A major hurdle for governments - and entrepreneurs – angling for a role in space has been costs. The Strata chief takes a slightly different view on the matter.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos entering the space race did reduce overall costs, but the major driver remains innovation, said Abdulla. “What they are using are much more innovative than previous systems being used by NASA.”

Boeing handover

We do have the manufacturing footprint, we do have some knowledge and it would support us to enter into that domain (space)

- Ismail Abdulla

Last week, Boeing received the first vertical fin built and assembled in the UAE for its 787 Dreamliner. “We continue to engage with all our strategic partners,” he added. “We look at opportunities on existing or new platforms - so this is part of our continuous engagement with them.”

Although Strata’s current programmes involve wide-body aircraft, it is talking to several original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to see if there are any opportunities in narrow-body options.

There are many who predict an industry-wide shift to narrow-body aircraft and the point-to-point airline model in the future. “I believe the jury is still out on that,” said Abdulla.

“The pandemic showed the supply chain that we have the aerospace industry is not a sustainable one.”