November 2022

Space Insights

Unlike the Earth, space is endless. And so are the opportunities to better humanity.

The climate crisis is the most urgent challenge faced by us at present – affecting every region, continent, and ocean on Earth. To reverse this, space has an untapped potential to make a difference in tackling the threats and challenges faced by humanity. Satellites watch over Earth continuously, helping us to monitor, understand, model, predict and act on climate change and its related challenges.

The continuation of the human race and all other species on Earth has been a priority for many governments and scientists for ages. This requires international cooperation and purposeful socioeconomic benefits with long-term goals. However, space observation is not without side effects. As the race for the global space sector takes off, scientists around the world are ringing alarm bells over the emerging risks of space pollution.

Did you know that more spacecraft were launched in the first six months of 2022 than the number of active satellites launched in the first 52 years of the space age? This means 72 rockets launching 1,022 identified spacecraft into space. Over the next decade, space technology will acquire a new momentum, building on previous diverse applications and leading to breakthroughs such as converting waste plastic into petroleum products, developing new treatments, monitoring pest migration patterns, and helping stabilize global food prices by tracking rice crop yields.

Satellites: Eye on the Sky

In recent years, the $469 billion global space economy has experienced a transformation. Most of this money came from the private sector rather than the public sector. Declining costs, satellite and launcher size evolutions, and the proliferation of related technology have led to a surge in satellite launches, many by new space enterprises and nations. More than 4,852 active artificial satellites orbit the Earth, providing tangible social, scientific, strategic, and economic benefits to billions of individuals throughout the globe. Yet the ability to provide important benefits from outer space is now threatened by a number of challenges.

Source: Cassiopeia Constellation in the Galaxy,WikiImages/

Space Debris

There are approximately 23,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting the Earth. The amount of debris in space is estimated to be doubling every decade. This could quickly lead to a sharp decrease in our ability to sustain the benefits that space systems provide to the entire world. While most experts agree that the current level of debris is manageable, they caution that, at the rate at which it is accumulating, debris could render many orbital locations unusable within the next two decades. In response to the growing threat posed by debris, decisionmakers have begun to consider strategies to slow the increase of debris resulting from human activities and develop techniques to protect spacecraft from debris.

Sustainability in Space

The United Nations has developed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to address these challenges in the form of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated specific targets. The 17 SDGs are integrated – they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Countries have committed to prioritizing progress for those who’re furthest behind. The SDGs are designed to end poverty, hunger, AIDS, and discrimination against women and girls. The creativity, know-how, technology, and financial resources of all of society are necessary to achieve the SDGs in every context.


Source: Satellite in Space/

Space assets and technologies can be used to support most, if not all, of the SDGs. One main advantage is that space provides non-invasive tools with the capacity for repeatable objective measurements, which will enable a more equitable and fair decision-making process. A global partnership is needed to ensure that countries are fully aware of the potential of space to implement and monitor the SDGs and to ensure that the needs of all countries are considered, reducing existing gaps, when designing and operating new space-based infrastructure.

Space Reach and the UAE

The National Space Policy of the UAE and the dedication and devotion of its people have been able to build a strong economy, as well as strong infrastructure and national competencies, which have made the UAE today a regional leader in space activities, capable of contributing to the exploration of outer space before the golden jubilee of its foundation in 2020.

The UAE now has the largest space sector in the region in terms of both diversity and size of investments. The sector is driven by several leading space centers, institutions, and companies that include the MBRSC, Al Yah Satellite 


Source: UAE’s Mars probe ‘Hope’,Dana Moukhallati/

Communications Company (Yahsat), and Thuraya Telecommunications Company. The UAE now owns and operates more than six satellites for different uses, soon to increase to 10 satellites, and boasts AED 20 billion of national investments in space technologies. The establishment of the UAE Space Agency and the Mars Hope probe project symbolize the ambitious UAE Vision 2021, which will see the establishment of a more diverse and sustainable economy that is based on knowledge and innovation.

In March this year, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) launched an institute – WSSA – to tackle such challenges and develop a more sustainable space sector. The World Space Sustainability Association (WSSA) will focus on supporting efforts to build a sustainable space sector by inviting its biggest stakeholders to address challenges in space.

The Commercial Space Age

The space industry is set to provide big profit and business opportunities for the private sector globally, as heard at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, according to The National.

Until recently, a government territory, the race to space is becoming bigger and bigger as private companies are increasingly active in the space sector – from high-profile businesses such as SpaceX or Virgin Galactic to the nearly 3,000 small businesses that provide elements for government agencies such as the European Space Agency’s space program. Driven by the investments and ambitions to create a futuristic society on planets such as Mars, billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson have invested heavily into their space ventures. A public-private partnership model has been adopted by space agencies worldwide, as more private space companies emerge to offer their services to governments.

Musk’s SpaceX, in particular, has demonstrated that commercial ventures can be successful and help bolster NASA. For years, SpaceX has flown cargo and supplies for the space agency to the International Space Station (ISS). Whereas Blue Origin, brainchild of Jeff Bezoz, aims to make space access cheaper and more reliable through reusable launch vehicles. Pursuant to this, Amazon continues to deliver on its roadmap for Project Kuiper, a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite system designed to provide fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world in Q4 2022.

Changing adversity into an opportunity

Maintaining a peaceful and profitable operating environment in space requires governments and industry to clean up space debris, capture satellites, refuel satellites, raise their orbit, push them down, and burn them up. This need requires innovative in-space robotic technology, which further enables the space economy, including space manufacturing, private space stations, space-based power, and space-based communication. If we’re successful in this endeavour, we can provide future generations with the same benefits of unfettered space access that we currently enjoy.


Source: Earth in Space,Qimono/