UAE’s galactic voyage gets extra thrust after first spacetech startup lands in Abu Dhabi


The past year has seen the Emirates boost its ascent into the cosmos by launching multiple satellites and a mission to Mars which made it the first Arab country to reach the red planet. The emerging regional tech leader isn’t slowing down, as it assembles its second homegrown space device, and also prepares to send a robot to the moon next year.

As UAE develops into a cluster of smart cities, it also nurtures a constellation of 400,000 startups with policies aimed at generating funds and creating an ecosystem for new businesses to grow. To mark the UAE’s stellar feats in the galactic realm, Abu Dhabi’s startup hub has opened doors for its first spacetech startup, which will be joined by 15 other firms offering diverse products.

The Singapore-based company SpaceChain has arrived at Hub71 with peers from 11 countries, and will be working on deploying blockchain tech into space exploration. The idea is to launch several nano-satellites to create a network which will act as a blockchain for development of applications in outer space.

SpaceChain’s innovative services include secure transactions in space involving multiple virtual signatures, which will be facilitated by blockchain hardware installed at the international space station. The organisation ensures connectivity between the devices in the cosmos and infrastructure back home on earth, to empower development of fintech and other digital products in space.

The decision to get the galactic innovators on board comes at a time when the UAE is preparing its second set of astronauts, including its first female cosmonaut, for their journey into space. The Emirates is also hoping to host the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, alongside a slew of space agencies and firms, at a space congress in Dubai.

Other startups making their way to Hub71 include Dawsat which hopes to protect the Arab world against a diabetes and obesity epidemic. The list also includes world’s first smart ideation and recommendation platform for events, which is powered by machine learning.

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