Saudi Arabia Awards ASPACE $266M

Image: Axiom

ASPACE, a Hong Kong-based satellite manufacturer, is laying groundwork for a future aerospace industry in Saudi Arabia. The company announced this week that the kingdom had invested 1B Saudi riyals ($266.6M) to help it develop advanced satellite technology domestically.

“This investment represents a significant stride in augmenting the Kingdom’s competitiveness and establishing it as a regional hub for magnetizing space investments as well as cutting-edge technologies in this rapidly growing sector,” said Abdullah Al-Swaha, chairman of the Saudi space agency.

The agreement: Saudi Arabia is hoping to use ASPACE, a subsidiary of Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group (HKATG) that operates a satellite manufacturing facility in Hong Kong, as a jumping-off point to establish a domestic aerospace company in the future.

“We will have to jointly develop the company with the Saudi government for the next stage,” Sun Fengquan, ASPACE’s co-chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Middle East spacebound: Saudi Arabia and its neighbor, the UAE, have each been trying to get their foot in the door of the global aerospace market. 

  • Both countries have partnered with Axiom Space to send private astronauts to the ISS. 
  • Saudi Arabia launched its first satellite built in partnership with Lockheed Martin in 2019, a year after establishing its space agency.

The UAE is taking the long view when it comes to ambitious deep space missions, but Saudi Arabia is in a rush, hoping to put Saudi boots on the lunar surface by 2030. Politics are making that complicated—Saudi Arabia has signed onto the US-led Artemis Accords, but is also reportedly exploring lunar partnerships with China and Russia.

Related Stories

NASA Convenes at Climate Conference in UAE

NASA leadership is heading to Dubai this week for the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (better known as COP 28), which begins on Thursday and runs through Dec. 12.


Astra Secures $2.7M from Investors

There’s been another update in the Astra ($ASTR) financing saga. 


SpaceX Announces a Starship Version Two is in the Works

With just two Starship integrated test flights under its belt, SpaceX announced it is already working on a major overhaul of its second-stage Starship vehicle.


Skyrora Partners with Spirit AeroSystems on Rocket Manufacturing

Skyrora, a UK-based launch startup, is aiming to keep its supply chain close to home as it gears up for its first orbital launch tests.