Sec-Gen. of GCC Emphasizes Collaboration with International Astronautical Federation

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Mr. Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, confirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain’s hosting of the International Space Forum – Gulf Chapter 2024 comes amid rapid development and increasing interest in the space sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Al-Budaiwi participated today in the sixth edition of the International Space Forum in Manama, Bahrain. It’s the first time this forum is held at the ministerial level in the Middle East and North Africa, focusing on “Space as a Change Factor in Diplomacy and Economic Development in the Region.”

He said: “Space exploration has received great attention from countries and commercial institutions, as global investments in space exploration have reached about $272 billion since 2013, noting that the GCC countries have worked for decades to enhance their capabilities in this field, and have established national space agencies and bodies.”

GCC countries launched initiatives that include specialized academic and training programs, and encouraging innovation and scientific research. The value of the space economy in these countries is estimated at more than 10 billion dollars.

GCC, International Collaborations

Al-Budaiwi also pointed out that the GCC countries aim to increase investment in the space sector and attract global expertise and leadership to achieve their ambitious national plans. He recalled some of the notable achievements achieved by the GCC countries, as the United Arab Emirates launched the Hope Probe in 2020 in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and several international bodies.

The Kingdom of Bahrain launched a project with the UK to study and reduce carbon emissions. Saudi Arabia sent two astronauts to the International Space Station with NASA for scientific experiments. Additionally,  Oman initiated a project to launch a scientific platform into space. Qatar also signed an agreement with NASA to design and launch a climate research satellite. Kuwait is also participating in NASA’s SMAP satellite project.

Pride in GCC Astronauts’ Achievements

Al-Budaiwi expressed pride and appreciation for the achievements of GCC astronauts. He highlighted Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi from the UAE, who contributed significantly through their missions to the International Space Station, and Rayana Barnawi and Ali Al Qarni from Saudi Arabia, who confirmed the region’s commitment to space exploration with their recent mission.

He also recalled the distinguished achievement of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the first astronaut from the GCC, whose historic 1985 flight remains an inspiration for current and future Gulf generations.

Space Sector

Al-Budaiwi concluded the speech by emphasizing the importance of seizing the opportunities available to us in light of the rapid changes taking place in the space sector.

“GCC can grab the opportunities by exchanging our experiences, unifying our visions and policies, and overcoming challenges and turning them into assets that benefit our countries, our peoples, and future generations.”

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