Abu Dhabi: The UAE Space Agency has enshrined more rules to govern the rapidly growing space sector with the introduction of a new law for licensing, registering objects, defining responsibilities, insurance, risks and accidents, an official from the agency said on Monday in Abu Dhabi. The first of its kind in the Arab and Islamic world, the law aims to create a legislative and regulatory environment for the national space sector in line with other laws and regulations in the UAE.
The Federal Law No. (12) of 2019 on the regulation of the space sector was issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan last year and enforced in the country last month.
Dr Ahmad 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 international agreements and treaties signed by the UAE.”
The new law comprise of nine chapters and 54 articles for regulating space activities in the UAE and governs the Agency’s role in this regard.
The law was passed by the Cabinet, headed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in late 2019. It 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 assurances ahead of starting their business and projects in the UAE, Al Falasi said.
New space permits
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 and the transitional period for current operator regulations.
It also defines 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.
Nasser Al Rashidi, Director of Space Policy and Regulations at the UAE Space Agency, said: “The law also tackles advanced, new and modern concepts that are garnering international attention, including space-launch activities, organising manned trips, space tourism and related activities and building and using man-made facilities in space and on other planets.”
It also details the ownership and usage rights of space resources, and other commercial activities like mining operations and space logistics services, in addition to the mechanism for dealing with space debris, meteorites and managing space risks, he said.
Dh22 billion investments
The global space industry is currently worth more than $400 billion, including countless opportunities for businesses and governments. As an emerging space nation, the UAE space industry’s investments have exceeded Dh22 billion.
The agency also aims to make the UAE a regional hub for commercial space activities and advanced research. In 2019, the UAE had six new space start-ups, with four of them being established by Emiratis.