As the space economy continues to expand, nations around the world are staking their claim in every aspect of the industry.
The Saudi Space Commission, or SCC, is on the verge of announcing a set of partnerships that will significantly advance the Kingsom’s role in space.
Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the SCC and first Saudi astronaut to travel to space, said, “This agreement comes within the partnership and integration methodology adopted between government agencies enabling the space sector to fulfill the directives of King Salman to establish a space-linked integrated industry, which has become a promising sector with economic contributions.”
This comes on the heels of Saudi Arabia planning a $2 Billion dollar injection for its space program,
Another interesting development from Saudi Arabia is their unique construction project called, the LINE. A 500 billion dollar zero-emission mega city built in a straight line, 170 kilometers long. The announcement of Neom, and SCC were released around the same time and could be an indication of a much larger Middle Eastern vision for space.
On the other side of the world, UNSW Sydney, an Australian public research university, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japanese lunar exploration company ispace to partner in the development of new space tech, and open the door for joint space missions. UNSW students and staff would be able to participate in exchange programs as well.
Professor Andrew Dempster, (Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER), pointed out, “As society becomes more reliant on satellites for a range of industries including communications, agriculture, transport, defense and more, the future of humans in space is heavily reliant on their ability to use resources in space. UNSW and iSpace share this understanding and both believe the key to doing this is applying mining engineering discipline knowledge to space projects, and getting these two industries to talk to each other.”
iSpace and UNSW are both focused on research and development centered around tapping water resources on the moon.
“To achieve our goal to mine water on the moon, a raft of factors needs to be considered. In addition to the technology, we need to have the right legal frameworks, ethics, government policies and environmental standards in place. ispace shares this holistic approach to our work and I am excited about what we may achieve together,” said Professor Serkan Saydam of UNSW’s School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering.
Off-world mining and mineral extraction is just the beginning. For nations around the world, involvement in the space economy is not only lucrative, it’s a geopolitical and strategic necessity.