UAE to modernise world's first spaceport used for orbital and human launch


UAE, Russia and Kazakhstan are joining forces to modernise the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s first spaceport for orbital and human launches.

The agreement was signed and announced at the Dubai International Airshow by the UAE Space Agency, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry.

The agreement lays down a framework to establish closer cooperation and collaboration in all space-related endeavours, including the ambitious bid to modernize the Gagarin Start launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome that Kazakhstan leases to Russia.

A legal framework will be developed to carry out joint activities at the spaceport. This includes provisions to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to develop the launch site further.

“The combination of expertise, experience and shared resources will accelerate progress towards a more competitive global space economy,” said Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, the UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency.

Termed Gagarin Start, the launchpad is named after the Soviet-era cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human to journey into outer space in 1961.

It will encourage the promotion of peaceful space exploration, sharing knowledge, expertise and establishing new ties.

This announcement comes only weeks after the UAE Space Agency and Roscosmos pledged to promote outer space for peaceful purposes, after a meeting at EXPO 2020 Dubai.

Meanwhile, the UAE and Kazakhstan signed a strategic economic partnership in October to develop long-term strategic projects worth more than USD6 billion in energy, agri-industrial, transport, logistics, pharmaceutical and financial sectors.

More from UAE