Speaking about the enablers of the space sector, Al Qubaisi highlighted the importance of having a solid legal framework.
“We recognize that this can be a challenge, but it can also be an opportunity,” he said during a session on “Fostering Innovation in Space” held at the Aerospace 2050 conference.
“Within our government, the time frame to review and revise the legal framework of any entity has actually been shortened. Instead of five years, it is now only three years and this year we have just concluded our work and obtained the approval of our new space law,” Al Qubaisi said.
The United Arab Emirates introduced the National Space Law in 2019.
The first space law that came into force in early 2020 consists of nine chapters and 54 articles to regulate space activities in the UAE and governs the Agency’s role in this regard.
Al Qubaisi said the main change this time was to separate articles related to the regulation of the sector from articles related to the establishment of the space agency. Separating these items contributed to a more responsive approach, he said.
Speaking later to Gulf News, he said the UAE aims to have a stronger legal framework for the space sector by the first quarter of 2024.
Discussing the expected changes, he said the new regulations will cover authorization and inspections of licensees. “In addition, regulations that are for transversal sectors that support the space sector. “We can work with our counterparts to accelerate licensing to join the space sector.”
Previously, he said that a holistic vision, involving entities such as the Emirates Research and Development Council, aligns strategies with the transformation towards a knowledge-based economy.
The 2019 law regulates the ownership of space objects, the sending of astronauts to space and the operation of space tourism flights. It also includes heavy fines of up to Dh10 million for violators.
Al Qubaisi said the ministry and cabinet also issued and approved five regulations earlier this year. “And there will be a few more to come in the first quarter of next year. And that is part of our continuous review that we do to stay ahead and outpace the technological trends that are moving so fast now.”