Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, which had announced its intent to invest in space, has launched a company that will enhance the space and satellite sector by developing local capabilities.

Neo Space Group (NSG), wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), will develop the local space industry through its four dedicated business segments: satellite communications, earth observation and remote sensing, satellite navigation and Internet of Things, as well as a satellite and space-focused venture capital fund.

The development of the aerospace sector is in line with PIF’s strategy to unlock the potential of promising sectors in Saudi Arabia and support the diversification of the Saudi economy from oil revenues.

"The establishment of NSG marks an important milestone in the development of the growing satellite and space sector in Saudi Arabia and the ambition to be a leading commercial player in the global satellite sector," said Omar Al-Madhi, Co-head of MENA Direct Investments at PIF.

The fund, which manages around $700 billion, has pushed ahead with initiatives to localise manufacturing, including the development of an electric vehicle facility and a sustainable tech manufacturing hub.  

Alat, a new company chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to create 39,000 direct jobs in Saudi Arabia and achieve a direct non-oil gross domestic product contribution of $9.3 billion by 2030.

The kingdom launched its space program in 2018 and sent two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Seban Scaria)