© 2020 All rights reserved to Maaal Newspaper
Publisher: Maaal International Media Company
On Monday, May 22nd, the Falcon Rocket, whose crew included 2 Saudi nationals, concluded a safe trip to the International Space Station, Rayyanah Barnawi & Ali AlQarni, scheduled for a historic ten-day trip. What makes this trip special is the inclusion of the first Saudi woman to travel beyond the skies on a mission in space, a welcomed landmark made possible by the Saudi Space Commission, where both astronauts trained to embark on the mission.
The Kingdom has concentrated its efforts on opening all of the potential space travel has to offer, potentially such as scientific breakthroughs, incredible discoveries, and also the economic benefits that come by way of industry produced by the sector. To ensure that Saudi Arabia remains at the forefront of such efforts, the SSC has activated a host of programs relating to space aviation, training, and schooling through space scholarship programs. Most notable due to recent events would be the Kingdom’s Astronaut Program, where the two Saudi National Astronauts learned the skills necessary to complete their ISS journey, named the AX-2 Mission.
As an injection into the space development sector, the Saudi Space Commission launched the “Saudi Space Accelerator Program” to support startup businesses and local entrepreneurs involved with space-related products and services. Space-related products would be things like fabricated hardware, parts and pieces that would go into machinery, fragments of vessel construction, software systems and other technical products from various disciplines. Aside from the programs designed by the SSC to generate excitement and human capital in the industry, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Space Commission, Eng. Abdullah Al-Sawaha has been working to collaborate with other nations, creating lucrative investment partnerships to take advantage of a sector poised to hit over one trillion dollars in value by 2040.
Like most deliberate advancements achieved by government and civilian sectors, the space program is another piece of the Saudi Vision 2030 program, and the excitement that the space program generates in STEM facets of education with the youth will reap substantial dividends in the nation’s future. In addition, the growth of space-based operations and all the different industries that touch this sector will contribute significantly toward Vision’s effort to detach from oil reliance by 2030 from revenue generated within, as well as incoming revenue from other countries or outside businesses that rely on our technical advancements and digital expertise.
Due to the SSC’s efforts and the Kingdom’s innovation and contribution (2.1 billion dollars back in 2020) to the program, Saudi youth has two outstanding citizens that they can look up to and be inspired by. Moreover, more people are being trained to follow in their footsteps so they can take to the skies at the soonest possible opportunity. With Saudi Arabia’s involvement and outstanding participation in space-related sciences and industry, the future is shaping to be packed full of progress, promise, and innovation.
Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
Saudi Scholar & Writer *