Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's latest initiatives to boost space activities

By Jean-Claude Vecchiatto, Alia Jenayah

01-2021

Under the leadership of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, son of King Salman and first Arab participating to a space mission (on the Discovery Space Shuttle), the Saudi Space commission (SSC) was set up by a royal decree in late 2018 (Royal Order No.(A / 148) dated 20/4/1440 H and Council of Ministers Resolution No. 209 dated 25/4/1440 H). It aims to stimulate space-related research and industrial activities and to create a legislative environment in view of the growing business opportunities offered by space. 

On April 2020, the Saudi Space Commission board approved a first draft of space law which was lately submitted to the higher authorities for approval. Bird & Bird, together with the Saudi firm Al-Fahad & Partners advised the SSC for the preparation of this draft law. The law is now following the Saudi legislative process.

On October 7, 2020, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosted the first meeting of Space Economy Leaders (Space20) and conducted multiple studies that have proven that the space economy can play a major role in shaping new horizons for the global economy. It has therefore placed the space economy as a priority within Shaping New Frontiers Axis with the promotion of space cooperation.

In order to achieve the strategic goals of the Saudi space sector in a way that contributes to achieving the Kingdom's Vision 2030, the SSC is strengthening its partnerships with local, regional, and international bodies. It has signed a significant number of international joint cooperation agreements related to space with Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Russia, Ukraine and the United States. In late December 2020, the SSC signed an executive program agreement with the International Space University (ISU) in order to “jointly support education and scientific research at the graduate level by providing integrated educational national cadres training programs through which human capital can be developed, and by investing in research and development related to the space field”.