Abu Dhabi: The UAE Space Agency has announced its collaboration with the Abu Dhabi-based global innovation hub, Krypto Labs, to launch the UAE NewSpace Innovation Programme, which aims to maximise the growth of space technology start-ups in NewSpace, the rising private spaceflight industry.
The programme comes as part of the UAE Space Agency’s efforts to accelerate the growth of technology start-ups in the field of space sciences.
The programme falls under the National Space Investment Promotion Plan which aims to heighten the role of the space industry in contributing to the economy of the UAE, while encouraging a culture of interest in the space sector, in efforts to establish a knowledge-based competitive national economy built on innovation and the latest technologies.
The NewSpace Innovation Programme is one of the main and most important initiatives launched by the National Space Investment Promotion Plan, initiated by the UAE Space Agency in the first quarter of 2019.
The programme also falls under an MoU signed between the UAE Space Agency and Krypto Labs, which aims to increase innovation and investment in the space sector, drive a diversified UAE economy and promote awareness through specialised initiatives that support space technology entrepreneurship.
Selected applicants will take part in a three-month incubation programme at Krypto Labs’ headquarters in Abu Dhabi with access to the hub’s facilities.
Network of investors
They will also have access to the innovation hub’s local and global network of investors, receive mentorship from global space experts and develop their skills in business creation, marketing and sales, among others. Applicants will have a chance to secure funds to ensure their start-up investment is ready to enter the market.
Eligible applicants must present an innovative and original idea with a clear technical approach, which generates a feasible and scalable product. Applying teams must have at least one Emirati team member.
Dr Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with Krypto Labs to inspire young entrepreneurs to present their ground-breaking start-up ideas and contribute to the growth of the space industry in the UAE, along with promoting a diverse economy in the country.
"The UAE NewSpace Innovation Programme invites students, entrepreneurs and start-ups to share their ground-breaking ideas and transform them into viable commercial products. This supports developing space technology as part of the UAE’s private spaceflight NewSpace sector, which aims to make space more accessible, affordable and commercial.”
“This initiative comes in line with the UAE Space Strategy 2030 and National Space Investment Promotion Plan, which seeks to encourage investment in the UAE’s emerging space sector. We always encourage the development and implementation of space science and technology in the UAE, as part of the UAE Space Agency’s objectives,” Dr Al Ahbabi added.
Dr Saleh Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Krypto Labs, said: “We are committed to promoting and building the capabilities of local youth in space tech under the National Space Strategy 2030 and it is the UAE Space Agency’s persistent support that pushes us forward in achieving this mission.
"By supporting innovators and young entrepreneurs, we aim to foster a spirit of originality and zest within startups to solve global challenges that keep the UAE on the frontier of the innovation map and elevate its position as a leader for innovation-focused businesses.”
Naser Al Rashedi, Director of the Space Policy and Legislation Department in the UAE Space Agency and Project Manager, said: “This programme is the first of its kind locally and regionally, as it has been planned for under the highest standards and best international practices.
"The programme aims to successfully establish collaboration and partnership between stakeholders from academia, research and development, space investment, and more who would benefit from space technology, incubators and accelerators in the country.”
What the programme is about
The UAE NewSpace Innovation Programme seeks innovative ideas in three categories: Innovations in Space Sciences, which includes energy storage, software and applications, robotics and autonomous systems, modeling, IT and processing, science instruments, and observatories and sensor systems; Extending Human Presence in Deep Space, which includes habitation systems, life support, human exploration destination systems, space entry and landing, and life and physical sciences; and Exploration and Communications in Space, which includes thermal management systems and ground station systems, and ground and launch systems processing.
- Innovations in Space Sciences, which includes energy storage, software and applications, robotics and autonomous systems, modeling, IT and processing, science instruments, and observatories and sensor systems;
- Extending Human Presence in Deep Space, which includes habitation systems, life support, human exploration destination systems, space entry and landing, and life and physical sciences; and
- Exploration and Communications in Space, which includes thermal management systems and ground station systems, and ground and launch systems processing.
The programme is accepting applications from university students, professors, innovators, engineers, start-ups and entrepreneurs until February 2020.
As part of the programme, there will be a nation-wide university roadshow.
This will be followed by a competition held to select the top candidates, who will then pitch their ideas to a renowned and global panel of judges.