x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Emirates' ambitions to open up final frontier

The exploration and exploitation of space will be one of the leading areas of aerospace to be debated at the Global Aerospace Summit.

The exploration and exploitation of space will be one of the main topics of aerospace to be debated at the Global Aerospace Summit.

"An increasingly crowded 'last frontier' threatens to throttle the promises of space," said Nicholas Webb, of Streamline Marketing Group, the organisers of the summit. "Our global and local space situational awareness must be greatly improved, so space can continue to be cultivated."

As the subject of one of the centrepiece discussion sessions, delegates will examine the promise of civilian space travel, satellite-based energy sources, increased collection of surveillance data for everything from military reconnaissance to geographic research, and the prospect of cheaper and more sources of communication.

According to the summit's mission statement, the object is: "To learn how private initiatives are affecting commercial space transport and what the best options for launch will be over the next few years, as well as in the longer term, and what infrastructure will be needed for these developments.

"Also, what are the financing opportunities and risks involved in space transportation? We will seek to explore how close, commercially and technologically, we are to commercial human space flight and regular suborbital space tourism."

Among the delegates will be George Whitesides, the chief executive and president of Virgin Galactic. The Former Nasa chief of staff heads up Sir Richard Branson's company dedicated to making space tourism a commercial reality.

Virgin Galactic has already test flown a suborbital spaceship built to carry six passengers and two pilots, and Sir Richard has said he hopes the first customers will fly next year or the year after, launching from and returning to the company's new Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.

The brief space trip will offer passengers a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of Earth from the blackness of space at a cost of US$200,000 (Dh734,600) per seat.

 

dblack@thenational.ae