UAE Space Agency collaborates with Krypto Labs to launch the UAE NewSpace Innovation Program

11 January 2020

The UAE Space Agency announced its collaboration with the Abu Dhabi-based global innovation hub, Krypto Labs, to launch the UAE NewSpace Innovation Program, which aims to maximize the growth of space technology start-ups in NewSpace, the rising private spaceflight industry. The program comes as part of the UAE Space Agency’s efforts to accelerate the growth of technology start-ups in the field of space sciences.

The program falls under the National Space Investment Promotion Plan which aims to heighten the role of the space industry in contributing to the economy of the UAE, while encouraging a culture of interest in the space sector, in efforts to establish a knowledge-based competitive national economy built on innovation and the latest technologies. The NewSpace Innovation Program is one of the main and most important initiatives launched by the National Space Investment Promotion Plan, initiated by the UAE Space Agency in the first quarter of 2019.

The program also falls under a MoU signed between the UAE Space Agency and Krypto Labs, which aims to increase innovation and investment in the space sector, drive a diversified UAE economy, and promote awareness through specialized initiatives that support space technology entrepreneurship.

Selected applicants will take part in a 3-month incubation program at Krypto Labs’ headquarters in Abu Dhabi with access to the hub’s facilities. They will also have access to the innovation hub’s local and global network of investors, receive mentorship from global space experts, and develop their skills in business creation, marketing, and sales, among others. Applicants will have a chance to secure funds to ensure their start-up investment is ready to enter the market.

Eligible applicants must present an innovative and original idea with a clear technical approach, which generates a feasible and scalable product. Applying teams must have at least one Emirati team member.

H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with Krypto Labs to inspire young entrepreneurs to present their ground-breaking start-up ideas and contribute to the growth of the space industry in the UAE, along with promoting a diverse economy in the country. The UAE NewSpace Innovation Program invites students, entrepreneurs, and start-ups to share their ground-breaking ideas and transform them into viable commercial products. This supports developing space technology as part of the UAE’s private spaceflight NewSpace sector, which aims to make space more accessible, affordable and commercial.”

“This initiative comes in line with the UAE Space Strategy 2030 and National Space Investment Promotion Plan, which seeks to encourage investment in the UAE’s emerging space sector. We always encourage the development and implementation of space science and technology in the UAE, as part of the UAE Space Agency’s objectives,” H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi added.

Dr. Saleh Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Krypto Labs, said: “We are committed to promoting and building the capabilities of local youth in space tech under the National Space Strategy 2030, and it is the UAE Space Agency’s persistent support that pushes us forward in achieving this mission. By supporting innovators and young entrepreneurs, we aim to foster a spirit of originality and zest within startups to solve global challenges that keep the UAE on the frontier of the innovation map and elevate its position as a leader for innovation-focused businesses.”   

Commenting on the program, Eng. Naser Al Rashedi, Director of the Space Policy and Legislation Department in the UAE Space Agency and Project Manager said: “This program is the first of its kind locally and regionally, as it has been planned for under the highest standards and best international practices. The program aims to successfully establish collaboration and partnership between stakeholders from academia, research and development, space investment, and more who would benefit from space technology, incubators, and accelerators in the country.”

He added: “The program aims to incubate and accelerate the growth of four start-ups who will play a major role in fostering a culture of interest for the space sciences in the UAE. This comes in line with the Ghadan 21 development accelerator program, which aims to transform the emirate of Abu Dhabi into a global innovation hub. The NewSpace Innovation Program also aligns with the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution which aims to strengthen the country’s global position as a hub for the technological advances of the fourth industrial revolution. By February 2020, we aim to select high-skilled teams whose exceptional ideas will carry the potential to push forward our vision towards a diversified economy.” 

“The UAE NewSpace Innovation Program seeks innovative ideas in three categories: Innovations in Space Sciences, which includes energy storage, software and applications, robotics and autonomous systems, modeling, IT and processing, science instruments, and observatories and sensor systems; Extending Human Presence in Deep Space, which includes habitation systems, life support, human exploration destination systems, space entry and landing, and life and physical sciences; and Exploration and Communications in Space, which includes thermal management systems and ground station systems, and ground and launch systems processing,” explained Eng. Naser Al Rashedi.

He added: “The program is accepting applications from university students, professors, innovators, engineers, start-ups, and entrepreneurs until February 2020. As part of the program, there will be a nation-wide university roadshow. This will be followed by a competition held to select the top candidates, who will then pitch their ideas to a renowned and global panel of judges.”