DUBAI: The 18th edition of Dubai Airshow, set to take place at Dubai World Central (DWC) from 13-17 November 2023, will be themed around space exploration as a key component of growth for individual countries and the aerospace industry.

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dubai Airshow and the UAE Space Agency, the two parties are collaborating to enhance the event’s focus on space further, strengthening this year’s offering.

With the global interest in space exploration growing, the industry is no longer the domain of government, aerospace or defence companies. The advancement of innovative space applications by private businesses and industries has led to a creation of a new space economy, one which the Space Foundation expects will grow beyond US$634 billion by 2026.

Ibrahim Al Qasim, Deputy Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, and Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director-General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), will assume duties as part of the Dubai Airshow Advisory Board.

Al Qasim stated, “The UAE has made great strides in building national capabilities in earth observation, training astronauts, sending missions to the moon and soon to the asteroid belt. The most critical component in the next five to ten years will be building major private sector capabilities. We are looking to facilitate enormous opportunities for startups to be established in the UAE, and there is no better platform to do this than the Dubai Airshow. The show has generated upward of AED3 trillion in business.”

The space sector continues to be a vital industry for the UAE and is already inspiring future generations of astronauts and space scientists. Historic achievements this year include Sultan Al Neyadi becoming the first Arab to walk in space and the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

The UAE also recently announced the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt (EMA), a groundbreaking 13-year project featuring six years of spacecraft development and seven years of exploration, which promises to significantly boost Emirati space start-ups and train Emirati talent. Meanwhile, the Saudi Space Commission made history by sending its first female Saudi astronaut to space.

Technology Innovation Institute (TII), a leading global scientific research centre and applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), will be making its debut and is the host sponsor for this year’s Aerospace 2050 stage.

Dr. Gustavo Dos Santos, Chief Researcher, Propulsion and Space Research Centre (PSRC) at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), commented, “The airshow is a unique forum that brings together the world’s leading stakeholders in the aerospace and space sectors. With a complete section dedicated to space in the upcoming edition, we hope to add value through our participation in conferences that discuss the correlation between aerospace and climate change.”

The airshow will host a dedicated two-day conference programme, gathering high-profile leaders, government officials, and change-makers who will bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and visionary insights to push the boundaries of possibilities in space.

The 18th edition of the event will also offer a host of networking opportunities through its Exclusive Ministerial and Space Delegation programmes, connecting industry players with government officials, academia, and decision-makers.

To contribute towards building tomorrow's highly skilled workforce, and aligning with the UAE government’s Make it in the Emirates initiative, the airshow will allow students, graduates, and young professionals to meet prospective employers and participate in activities through its youth engagement programme. From a New Space start-up competition to Space and Moonwalker meet and greet, aspiring astronauts and space scientists will have plenty of opportunities to learn about a career in space.