UAE will fine you AED10 million for launching objects into space
Stop trying to launch your own satellites into space.
That’s the message the UAE Space Agency sent out this morning, by drafting new legislation that aims to curb private organizations and regular people from launching objects into outer space from the UAE.
The law stipulates that no one is allowed to launch any object that reaches 100km above Earth’s sea level, without the approval of the UAE Space Agency. When the law is passed, any acquisition of objects – such as satellites or rockets – will also be illegal.
Here’s why this is a bit of a big deal:
According to the United Nations, space is like international waters. It’s open to everyone. By putting rules on it (or at least, the bit above the UAE) the country is technically putting space under its jurisdiction.
That’s not to say the UAE will put a stop to launching things in to space; Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is still very much up for a UAE launch port. And the UAE’s planned space missions are still a go.
Watch: The Emirates Mars Mission
What it does curb are smaller companies and regular people – like rocket hobbyists – from using the country to get their wares into space. Which isn’t as farfetched as it sounds.
While the likes of NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX use rockets that cost millions and millions to produce and operate, smaller ventures such as RocketLab are now taking payloads (very small ones at least) into the upper atmosphere for a few hundred-thousand dollars.
Having your own private satellite might sound like science fiction (and for individuals, it will stay that way for a few decades) but with getting space coming down in price, it’s easy to see why local companies might fancy their own orbiting satellite in space.
This new draft legislation would effectively cut anyone’s ability to launch something into space without pre-approval. Which makes the skies above the UAE that much safer.