The 18th Edition of Dubai Airshow Highlights Space Exploration Opportunities

The events of the 18th edition of the Dubai Airshow, scheduled to take place in Dubai from November 13th to 17th, 2023, will focus on the space sector as a key element for the future growth of countries and the aviation industry in general.

This is in line with the global trend towards space exploration and its enhancement, as this field is not limited to only governments or aerospace and defence companies.

The advancement of innovative space applications by private companies and industries has led to the creation of a new space economy expected to exceed a value of 634 billion dollars by 2026, according to the Space Foundation.

Following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Dubai Airshow and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency during the 2021 edition, both parties are working to reinforce the space theme within the current edition’s activities, to enable mutual cooperation in the space sector, both locally and internationally.

The Advisory Council

During the Advisory Council of the Dubai Airshow, His Excellency Ibrahim Al Qasim, Deputy Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, and His Excellency Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director-General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, will participate to provide strategic advice and exchange views on space-related topics and the global agenda of this year’s show.

On this occasion, His Excellency Ibrahim Al Qasim said: “The UAE has taken significant steps in building national capabilities in the space sector, demonstrating its success in training UAE astronauts and sending them on missions to explore the moon and soon to explore the asteroid belt”.

“Developing capabilities in the private sector is a key focus for the next five to ten years. Through the 18th edition of the Dubai Airshow, we look forward to providing more opportunities for establishing start-ups in the UAE as an ideal platform for companies and investors in the space sector, where the business volume of the show in its 18th edition is expected to reach approximately 3 trillion dirhams”, he added.


The space sector in the United Arab Emirates continues to achieve further pioneering accomplishments, reflecting its importance as a vital sector and a source of inspiration for future generations of astronauts and space scientists.

The historical achievements of the country this year included Sultan Al Neyadi’s spacewalk, making him the first Arab to walk in space and the launch of the longest space mission in Arab history.

Furthermore, the UAE announced the Emirates Mars Mission, an innovative project that spans 13 years, with 6 years dedicated to developing and designing the spacecraft and 7 years to explore the main asteroid belt.

The project aims to accelerate the development of the private space sector in the UAE and enhance national capabilities in innovation and advanced technological development. Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia achieved an honourable milestone by sending its first female astronaut to space.

The Global Space Tourism Market

On a global scale, countries and space agencies are exploring options beyond planet Earth. The global space tourism market is growing rapidly, and it is expected to reach $12,690.6 million by 2031 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.4% from 2022 to 2031. Leading companies such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin continue to explore new opportunities for commercial space travel.

With the sector’s continuous growth, the importance of Space surveillance and tracking (SST) is increasing. SST is a vital service to ensure the safety and security of space infrastructure. According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, the SST market is expected to reach $90 million in 2023 and grow to $370 million by 2037 with a CAGR of 9.4%.

This constitutes significant growth opportunities for countries and corporate investments to explore, expand, and utilize the space sector.

This year, Dubai Airshow 2023 takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre exhibition site, providing a platform for companies and investors interested in discovering the latest technologies and solutions in this field.

Elite institutions in the aerospace sector will be presenting their offerings through the largest aerospace pavilion in its history, showcasing their role in driving innovation and sustainability in the aerospace industry.


The list of participants in this grand event includes the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), a global research institution affiliated with the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) in Abu Dhabi.

TII aims to expand the horizons of knowledge and advanced scientific research. For the first time, it serves as the host sponsor for the Aerospace 2050 Theatre of this year’s event, covering various topics, notably sustainable aviation propulsion and the workforce of the future, with a focus on exploring space.

Dr Gustavo dos Santos, lead researcher at the Propulsion Systems and Space Research Centre (PSRC) in TII, emphasized that Dubai Airshow is an exceptional platform bringing together leading entities in the aviation sector. Through their participation, they aim to raise awareness about the sector’s significance, which is one of the country’s top priorities, and to add value through conferences discussing space, climate change, reducing fossil fuel usage as well as developing capital and infrastructure in the aviation and space sectors.

The Dubai Airshow 2023, in partnership with the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, will host a two-day conference bringing together prominent leaders, government officials, and decision-makers to add knowledge and expertise to enhance the sector’s capabilities.

The sessions will focus on sustainability and the crucial role of the space sector in shaping sustainable policies and finding climate change solutions through Earth observation. Additionally, they will discuss technological advancements, reducing launch costs, increasing private investments, and the positive impact of space tourism on the sector.

The airshow’s 18th edition will offer various initiatives, including a dedicated space experience zone, a missions program, and a two-day updated event program where sector pioneers and innovators will discuss and identify future trends and opportunities for utilization.

The event will also highlight important topics such as space technologies, localization efforts in the sector through the “Made in the UAE” campaign, the pivotal role of startups in accelerating sustainability agendas, and missions like moonwalking, among others, to achieve a bright future.

Al Jundi

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