The Kingdom of Bahrain joined over 150 countries worldwide to celebrate the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an annual week-long event launched in 2008 by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and powered by the Kauffman foundation to celebrate innovators, entrepreneurs, and the drivers of economic growth.

For the first time in Bahrain, GEW in collaboration with the Labour Fund “Tamkeen” was held digitally between 29 November – 6 December 2020 as part of a series of events taking place during the week, addressing various topics related to entrepreneurship and focused on the following themes: Education, Policy, Ecosystems, Inclusion.

The participation of NSSA, took place in the workshop titled “Astropreneurship Opportunities in the Space Industry” on December 2nd 2020, 6-8pm alongside representatives from Astropreneurs HUB and Amazon Web Services Ground Station.

The workshop took place in a panel/seminar format and was centered around the following main discussion points:

  • The Kingdom of Bahrain’s vision for the Space and Sciences sector
  • The private sector’s potential contributions to this disruptive sector
  • Why and how is space-based data monetizable
  • The NewSpace companies, startups and national plans in the region
  • Commercialized products and services in the sector

Mrs Rasha Al Amad, Chief Strategic Planning Officer at NSSA shed light on the first 2 discussion points by explaining the National Space policy development process, objectives, requirements, and governance. Following that the NSSA Strategic plan, goals, initiatives and progress against each. Finally, introducing the importance of partnerships and possible collaboration frameworks to support efforts in the space sector and contribute to achieving the optimal benefit from space science and its expanded applications.

The workshop garnered wide participation from existing and aspiring Entrepreneurs, University students and faculty in addition to the Science community.

NSSA participation came as part of the national awareness program to promote space science and applications in the Kingdom, build NSSA brand and awareness for offered services and promote investments in this new sector whether through partnerships for potential collaborations on projects and programs or establishment of NewSpace companies and startups.

Al Amad further elaborated on how space-based data is monetizable “Space data is the information gathered by space-borne monitoring equipment (such as from satellites) and the process of extracting patterns and useful information from it using analytical software. When using satellites, information is more accurate, more reliable, faster to obtain, can be repeated easily, greater areas of coverage. The conversion of space data into value added services and products includes data processing and integration with data from other sources to adapt to users’ needs.

The satellite-based Earth Observation market is in an emerging market today and is expected to boom due to technical breakthroughs regarding data collection and storage. From a study conducted in 2015 by geospatialworld, based on the market trends and future market forecasts till 2025, value added services lies in the areas of infrastructure (33% of the market), environmental monitoring (20%), natural resources (15%), defense and security (15%), and energy.

Rasha, further added “Startups in the Kingdom and private sector investment could play a major role in advancing the national and global space economy in potential areas that could be focused around:

  1. Earth observation data visualization and utilizing space data to generate useful information for resource management (such as oil and gas, water), disaster management, agriculture (to enhance production and profitability), environment (for valuable information on the state of ecosystems), maritime (for in route vessel optimization) and climate change (for Increased knowledge of sea level variables) and many more.
  2. Developing and manufacturing Spacecraft components made of aluminum. As you are all aware that the Kingdom of Bahrain is ranked as one of the largest Aluminum producers in the world. Additionally, aluminum has been the first choice in materials by the experts in the space programs (based on NASA). Hence startups, may utilize Aluminum for building space craft components such as manufacturing satellites’ main body system (or BUS). Additionally, could be manufacturing Aluminum frames for Solar panels, housing and components for the payloads.
  3. Developing and manufacturing payloads that perform the mission of the satellite – like communication packages (e.g. designing and testing different antennas for communication, attitude control systems).
  4. Providing consultancy services to the space industry in space engineering and project management, market assessment and trends, space law and policies, technology and industrial strategies and more.
  5. Working on solutions for sustainability in space and recycling to monitor space debris. There are already startups working on various models of satellites that will serve as a debris catcher.
  6. Establishing space academies for training and education.