Arab News, Mon, Feb 12, 2024 | Shaban 2, 1445
Riyadh hosts global conference for a safer space future
The inaugural Space Debris Conference, themed “Towards Securing the Future of
the Global Space Economy,” kicked off in Riyadh on Sunday.
In attendance was Abdullah Al-Swaha, minister of
communications and information technology and chairman of the Saudi Space
Agency, and Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Agency.
The two-day conference brought together more than
260 experts from over 50 countries, including CEOs and leaders from the space
An exhibition showcasing local and international
companies specializing in space technologies and sciences was also part of the
The conference, held in collaboration with the UN
Office for Outer Space Affairs, aims to increase awareness of the challenges
posed by space debris and ensure a prosperous and secure future for space
The Kingdom is looking to outline a comprehensive
strategy to tackle the challenges arising from space debris, focusing on
legislation, policies, research, innovation, and the development of effective
global mechanisms and governance to reduce the impact of space debris.
Al-Tamimi shed light on the continuous
advancements in satellite technologies and space exploration. He emphasized the
growing issue of space debris, which poses significant risks to spacecraft
safety and could impede progress in this crucial area.
Al-Tamimi encouraged conference participants to
share their ideas, experiences, and advice, underscoring the importance of
collaboration in achieving tangible and impactful results.
He pointed out the increasing number of satellites
being launched each year, which complicates the challenges of managing space
debris. These challenges call for joint efforts and ongoing global cooperation,
He expressed optimism that the conference would
serve as a critical turning point toward a safer and more sustainable future in
space, ultimately benefiting all of humanity.
Sarah Al-Amiri, the UAE’s minister of state for
public education and advanced technology and chairperson of the UAE Space
Agency, said of the conference: “The event comes at a time when space activities
are on the rise and there's a pressing need for a strong international
partnership to tackle the challenges posed by space debris and promote
sustainable space practices.”
Arti Holla-Maini, director of the UN Office for
Outer Space Affairs, stressed the importance of working together and reaching a
consensus on space laws, given the challenges associated with the ongoing launch
of satellites. She called for an acceleration of efforts and a focus on
overcoming key obstacles to advance in this domain.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, secretary-general of the
International Telecommunication Union, urged everyone to join forces in striving
for a safe and clean space, advocating for collaborative progress to make
international cooperation and shared determination the key drivers for
sustainable space utilization.
At the conference, the Saudi Space Agency signed a
memorandum of understanding with LeoLabs to enhance cooperation in space
monitoring, share expertise, and explore collaborative opportunities. The
partnership aims to support Saudi Arabia’s space industry growth, improve space
situational awareness, and promote responsible management of low Earth orbit.
Al-Tamimi said that this memorandum underscores
the Kingdom’s commitment to advancing its space industry, playing a key role in
space surveillance, and actively addressing the emerging challenges in the
The Saudi Space Agency signed another MoU with
NorthStar, a global leader in space object monitoring and tracking. This
partnership aims to enhance cooperation in evaluating and exploring future
opportunities while sharing knowledge in space situational awareness.
It also aims to support the Kingdom’s space
industry expansion, promote research and development, and work toward the
establishment of a center of excellence focused on space situational awareness,
space traffic management, and sustainable space exploration. The partnership
will also delve into various sensing technologies and advanced data analytics,
contributing to the overall enhancement of the space sector.