Prince Sultan bin Salman Chairs the Inaugural Meeting of the Board of Directors of Saudi Space Commission (SSC)
Key statements by HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud:
- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is the greatest supporter of SSC, and a believer in the significance of space industry
- Approval of Saudi National Space Strategy sets stage for maximum utilization of space industry’s potential; and draws roadmap for Saudi Arabia’s accession into international race for space
- We started training national cadres and human capital, drawing on the Kingdom’s rich base of creativity and creators
- SSC will be platform for major economic and scientific undertakings in conjunction with all partners
- Several government agencies and hundreds of specialists took part in the formulation of National Space Strategy
HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Space Commission (SSC), on behalf of board members and staff, extended his gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, for his great support, following the royal decree that established the Commission, saying that King Salman’s support embodies his recognition of the significance of the space industry for the economy and security of the nation now and in the future.
Chairing the first meeting of the board of directors of SSC (held Monday, January 27, 2020), Prince Sultan said: “Today the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the astute leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, makes wide strides toward a promising future for the Saudi people, relying on science, technology, innovation, the integration between state establishments, and participation of the private sector and citizens.
The SSC will work on achieving the aspirations of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the country’s vision to deliver maximum benefit to the country and citizens.” Prince Sultan said the Kingdom, cognizant of the importance of the space sector in the economic, scientific and strategic fields, reached a conclusion that a strong national entity shall exist to regulate the sector and leverage its growth opportunities. The Kingdom always stands at the forefront on every field, said Prince Sultan, and its endeavors shall extend to this vital sector, especially space’s peaceful activities and investments and key research initiatives.
The Saudi Space Commission (SSC), as mandated by the government, will be the principal regulatory umbrella for all activities related to space, will work with stakeholders to implement its mandate, and will offer incentives to major firms with plans that could benefit Saudi Arabia and its citizens, said Prince Sultan. Prince Sultan maintained that SSC will pursue partnerships with state institutions, the private sector, local research centers, and relevant agencies abroad. Investing in the space sector, he added, constitutes an opportunity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as big enterprises, and the National Space Strategy has adopted clear tracks for embracing new ideas and programs. The Prince expressed his confidence in Saudi youth being ‘highly qualified to implement these tracks under a program that catalyzes investment and the business incubators proposed by the strategy.’
The Prince stated that SSC will complement the key endeavors carried out by Saudi citizens in the past three decades, asserting that Saudi Arabia was among the first countries in the region to prospect the future of space by dispatching an astronaut aboard US space shuttle ‘Discovery’ in 1985, and that Saudi scientists had several research contributions to the mission. The final report of this mission urged the creation of institutes and centers at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) that has since delivered distinguished achievements, until the government decided to take the sector to new heights by establishing a dedicated space agency. The SSC, said the Prince, is working on a collaboration with international space institutions to train Saudi astronauts and cadres, grow satellite manufacture and operation capabilities, and create the scientific, legislative and technical environment for the sector; stressing that space activities are not limited to sending astronauts to space, i.e. a small part of a long work that requires various qualifications.
Our goal, he said, is to empower scientists to enrich human lives with their research, studies and work, and maximize the benefit of the industry’s advancements worldwide. SSC’s board of directors, at its inaugural meeting, approved the Saudi National Space Strategy ahead of submitting it to the Council of Ministers to solicit the opinion of its members and of the representatives of defense ministry and KACST. Prince Sultan said the strategy was formulated in two phases, preparation and review; based on a draft proposed by ministry of economy and planning that was further enriched by SSC, in consultation with relevant government bodies. The work comprised over 30 meetings attended by 12 entities, and three meetings of the Steering Committee, besides conducting seven benchmarking studies on 30 developed states.
Workshops were held with the attendance of over 200 officials from more than 40 government, research and commercial entities, besides discussion groups attended by representatives of national universities. The resulting draft was reviewed by eight top-tier international scientists, nine leaders from international space agencies, and two research and consulting bureaus. All these efforts aimed at drafting an ambitious and realistic national strategy that advances the economic, services and security ambitions of the Kingdom and its people, while achieving the good of humanity as a tenet of all Saudi Arabia’s endeavors.
Prince Sultan explained that the space strategy provides for the regulation of all space-related activities in line with Vision 2030’s goals. The strategy is centered on the peaceful uses of the space and compliance to international conventions and treaties; and it seeks to inspire young generations to be proactive and bold looking at the future, considering the current capabilities and future direction of the Kingdom. It contains a concrete action plan for executing its priority programs and building a knowledge-based economy using space technology.
The formation of SSC, said Prince Sultan, will help place Saudi Arabia at its deserved place on the international map, and will enable the Kingdom to be an active member of the international space club, stressing that adopting the strategy and providing necessary enablement by the State, will set the stage for achieving the sector’s goals, and will ensure the sound execution of the strategic plans set out by SSC, and will build requisite national cadres.
At the meeting, Prince Sultan and board members launched SSC’s identity and website; SSC’s identity was inspired from the sound of Planet Earth in space captured in consecutive waves and circular motion, with a palm tree and its sprawling fronds standing tall in the middle, symbolizing SSC’s global ambitions. www.saudispace.gov.sa Prince Sultan and board members also inaugurated the activities of the Human Capital Development Program (Ajyal), the first link between Saudi citizens from all ages and interests and the space, which will allow them to benefit from the tracks of educational institutions, research centers and information programs. The program aims to help explore and support talent and encourage future generations to preserve the Planet and believe in co-existence away from disputes and conflicts.
During the meeting, the Board of Directors reviewed a report submitted by SSC’s CEO, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Muhammad Al Sheikh on SSC’s performance and achievements in its first year.
The Board also:
- Approved national space strategy ahead of its submission to the Council of Ministers.
- Ratified the first annual report.
- Appointed an external auditor for fiscal year 1441/1442 Hijri.
- SSC's operational plan for fiscal year 1441-1442 Hijri.
- SSC’s budget as approved by the government for fiscal year 1441-1442 Hijri.
- Report on SSC's international relations in its first year.
- The sector’s representation at G20 Summit, due in Riyadh in 2020.
The Board of Directors was formed pursuant to Council of Ministers’ approval comprising:
- HRH Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al Saud, advisor to the Royal Court
- H.E. Mr. Abdullah bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Assistant President at the Presidency of State Security
- H.E. Mr. Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al Mansoori, President of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA)
- H.E. Professor Khalid bin Saud Alshenaifi, Assistant to Minister of Economy and Planning
- H.E. Dr Hatem bin Hasan bin Hamza Al-Marzouki, Deputy Minister of Education for Universities, Research and Innovation
- Dr. Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, Governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC)
- H.E. Dr. Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel
- Mr. Saud bin Nassar Al-Hazmi, CEO of the General Authority for Audiovisual Media
- Mr. Thalib bin Ali Al-Shamrani, Assistant to Minister of Finance for Financial Affairs
- Mrs. Rania Nashar
- A representative of defense ministry
- A representative of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)