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NASA and Saudi Space Agency partner for a lunar mission

The Center aims to promote dialogue and speed up space tech advancement by bringing public and private stakeholders together.

NASA and Saudi Space Agency partner for a lunar mission
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia’s space industry is poised for significant growth, having generated $400 million in revenue in 2022, according to a report by the Saudi Communications, Space and Technology Commission published late last year.

The Center for Space Futures launch, a collaborative effort between the Saudi Space Agency and NASA, further fuels the kingdom’s ambition. 

During a visit to Riyadh, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson emphasized in an interview with the Asharq TV channel that the center will be crucial in bringing together commercial and government programs to build a significant space economy.

This economic potential is substantial. Research by the World Economic Forum anticipates the global space economy to reach nearly $2 trillion by 2035. Nelson attributes a significant portion of this growth to “startup companies” partnering with each other and benefiting from Saudi government incentives.

The partnership between NASA and Saudi Arabia extends beyond economic benefits. They have already collaborated on scientific instruments for the Artemis II lunar mission. Aiming for a September 2025 launch, this mission will see astronauts land near the moon’s South Pole.

Nelson highlighted the broader goals of this collaboration, including “going back to the moon and then [to] Mars,” while simultaneously using space exploration to gain insights on climate change. He emphasized NASA’s commitment to working with Saudi Arabia on these endeavors.

Space debris was identified as a major challenge during discussions on potential hurdles. The partnership aims to address this concern, considering Saudi Arabia’s role as a signatory to the Artemis Accords, an international agreement promoting safe and sustainable space exploration.

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