No Match Found
Space exploration epitomises the human race’s continued pursuit to push all boundaries and to make the impossible possible. Since the first mission into space in 1957, to man stepping foot on the moon in 1969, this sector has witnessed incredible growth and innovation. Huge strides have been made in areas ranging from satellite launchers, space stations, material sciences, scientific experiments, exploration missions, and other advanced-technologies.
Recently, there has been a renewed emphasis in this field from the:
The Public Sector is rethinking the model for mission delivery, customer centricity, mining and resources, and exploration.
The Private Sector is exploring commercialisation and privatisation to capture the opportunity in alignment with Public Sector objectives.
From HRH Sultan bin Salman’s journey into space with NASA’s space shuttle Discovery in 1985, the Middle East has been making great strides. And we are seeing a significant rejuvenation of strategic ambitions in the space sector across the region, such as Saudi Arabia’s evolving mandate and the UAE’s historic Emirates Mars Mission in 2021 and deployment of the Hope probe.
The global space sector is predicted to exceed $1 trillion USD by 2030, reflecting a growth of 186% from 2020’s market size. The growth in the Middle East will be driven by concerted investment between the public sector, global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and local industry. Specifically, the areas of satellite launch, earth observations, space tourism, satellite communication, space mining, space research & development, space exploration, space debris, and manufacturing will be the key drivers of growth in terms of subsectors - with satellites alone projected to constitute 50% of the growth of the global space sector.
In the Middle East, there is ample opportunity to strengthen the foundations of the emerging Middle East space sector and build capabilities and infrastructure to thrive in the future. To do so, we need to bridge the gap between the ambitions of government and emerging private sector players on the one hand, and world class capabilities in manufacturing, science and aeronautics on the other - all while involving regional talent and supporting localization agendas.
The global space sector is expected to reach a $1 trillion market size in the next decade. This growth offers a range of opportunities for Middle Eastern governments to advance across six strategic areas - all of which are key to the development and transformation of our region.
Oil dependent nations in the region such as KSA and the UAE have focused on diversifying their economies though national strategic goals such as Vision 2030. Opportunities in the space economy offer a new sector for regional economies to diversify into
Companies innovate and adopt new ideas to reshape their visions in order to capture new opportunities of emerging sectors. Having a strong footprint in space through R&D will increase market participation and reduce future uncertainties.
Interoperability within the military has become a necessary ability for armed forces globally. It allows the different branches to operate together and conduct joint operations. Continued development is critical for future military effectiveness, the use of satellites and space technology are key to achieving strategic and operational advantages.
Human capital development programs have been introduced into national strategies across the region. These programs aim to enhance the competitiveness of national human capabilities locally and globally to be ready for the current and future labor market
Participation of nations in international programs and cooperations increases their diplomatic influence as well as the benefits derived from the cooperation. International cooperation at public and private sector level strengthens future planning that could extend beyond the space sector
Governments have a critical and foundational role in the development of geospatial capabilities. By providing the underlying infrastructure, they enable evidence-based solutions across social, economic, and environmental challenges reliant on earth observation, urban sensing, mobile contact-tracing, and more.
With a projected growth rate of 186% by 2030, the thriving space sector can be broken down into nine main sub-sectors, each offering it’s own case for investment and development.
One of the largest sub-sectors, satellite launch focuses on technology and infrastructure to send satellites to near space and Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).
This segment is rapidly growing in all aspects, focusing on developing imaging, tracking and analytics technology to monitor climate, weather, GPS and more.
Efforts are moving towards developing access to space for space explorers, space adventure, space programs, private citizens and others.
Industry focus on improved connectivity through LEO satellites, wireless broadband, optical comms and other technologies.
Discovering the opportunity to extract rare minerals, metals and other raw materials from near-earth asteroids or minor planets in outer space
Develop high-level missions to explore outer space by manned - robotic spacecraft to reach beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
This segment focuses on tracking and analysing man-made objects orbiting in the atmosphere, to prevent collisions with satellites and spacecrafts or falling to earth.
A new space race led by the world’s emerging economies and wealthiest individuals is now underway. Across our region, a number of countries are taking the lead in focusing on growing and enhancing their capabilities in space to capitalise on the opportunities that the sector offers, through leveraging the benefits of superior technologies, private sector finance, and a global profusion of scientific and engineering talent.
The space sector presents an ever-evolving ecosystem where opportunity and ambition constantly push the boundaries of what is possible. Cross-industry and multinational collaboration is a must in a sector which expands beyond the traditional borders of engineering, technology and space.
During the course of 60 years, the space sector has witnessed impactful achievements in science and technology; leading to exponential growth and modernisation of the world we live in today. Recently there has been a significant push by private sector players to enter the industry:
With many nations now establishing national space strategies and agencies, our region is on its way to becoming a significant player in the space sector. As the Middle East looks to the future of this industry and the promising economic opportunities it offers, the focus is shifting from feasibility studies to implementation and capability building to start benefiting as soon as possible. In the short term, opportunities in science and exploration, space resources, and space tourism present a lucrative economic entry point. Taking the lead, both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have launched national space strategies, with bold ambitions in the fields of space exploration, technology and application. Showcased in the visions are strategic goals and initiatives to achieve local sector growth. This includes capitalising on investments to develop space tourism infrastructure, and forging strategic partnerships with leaders in the private sector to become more competitive players in the field of space exploration and resource extraction.
Activities in the space sector are expanding globally, with more countries and private firms investing than ever before. Poised with exponential growth, key factors to consider include rapid advances in technology, declining launch costs and the rising public sector interest in the field. By focusing on the long-term advantages that the sector promises, opportunities include satellite broadband and servicing, high speed product delivery though point-to-point space travel, active debris removal capabilities, to one day establishing a colony on Mars.
On the regional level, investment in the sector will lead to the localization of this industry, while building infrastructure will stimulate the local economies on a multi-sector basis and provide education, training, and future of work opportunities for citizens as we look ahead and into the space-age.
While the decreasing costs of satellite development and space exploration increases the volume of regional players of all sizes, there are yet to be effective governance tools regulating the sector. There is a clear gap in policy development, with effective regulation missing in key areas such as satellite launches, space traffic control, and activation of enforcement principles. The absence of governing regulations that enable equal opportunities for growth leads to increasing inequality amongst regional and global participants, and will start to play an ever more critical role moving forwards. Given the rapid transformation happening across our region and especially in this sector, it is important for effective governance, trust and transparency to keep up as we pave the way into a more equitable, competitive and ambitious future.
ME Government and Public Sector Consulting Leader, PwC Middle East
Tel: +966 56 943 3700
Director - Middle East Aerospace & Defence, PwC Middle East
Tel: +971 56 682 0557