Dubai: The UAE will have an updated version of its space law by the first quarter of the next year, according to the country’s space chief.
Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, director general, UAE Space Agency, revealed this during a panel discussion at the 18th Dubai Airshow on Wednesday.
Speaking about the enablers of the space sector, Al Qubaisi highlighted the importance of having a robust legal framework in place.
“We do recognise that this can be a challenge, but it can be an opportunity as well,” he said during a session on “Fostering Innovation in Space” held at the Aerospace 2050 conference.
“Within our government, the timeframe for revisiting and reviewing the legal framework for any entity has actually shrunk down. Instead of five years, now it is only three years and we’ve just this year concluded our work where we got approval for our new space law,” said Al Qubaisi.
The UAE introduced the National Space Law in 2019.
The first space law that came into effect in early 2020 comprises of nine chapters and 54 articles for regulating space activities in the UAE and governs the Agency’s role in this regard.
Al Qubaisi said the main change this time was separating out the articles pertaining to the regulation of the sector from the articles pertaining to the establishment of the space agency. The separation of these articles contributed to a more responsive approach, he said.
Changes in licensing, inspections
Speaking to Gulf News later, he said the UAE aims to have a more robust legal framework for the space sector by the first quarter of 2024.
Discussing the changes expected, he said the new regulations will cover authorisation and inspections of licensees. “Also, regulations that are for cross-cutting sectors that are supporting the space sector. We can work with our counterparts to expediting licensing for them to join the space sector.”
Earlier, he said a holistic view, involving entities like the Emirates Research and Development Council, aligns the strategies with the transformation to a knowledge-based economy.
The 2019 law regulates the ownership of space objects, sending astronauts to space and operating space tourism flights. It also includes hefty fines of up to Dh10 million for offenders.
Al Qubaisi said five regulations were also issued and approved by the ministry and cabinet earlier this year. “And there are a few more to come in the first quarter of next year. And that’s part of our continuous review that we do for being ahead of the curve to beat the technology trends that are going so fast now.”