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Kuwait mulling development of a national satellite capability

The skyline of Kuwait City, Kuwait. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.
The skyline of Kuwait City, Kuwait. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Kuwaiti cabinet, the Council of Ministers, is considering the acquisition and launch of a satellite, according to local reports in Kuwait City. Draft legislation has been submitted to the cabinet from the Communications and Information Technology Commission.

The reports say that the cabinet has formed a committee to examine the economic feasibility of, and the requirements and needs, the satellite project. The committee is to be headed by the Chairman of the General Authority for Communications and Information Technology, Mr. Salim Alozainah.

Sources have confirmed that the committee will complete the work of the Ministry of Communications, which was commissioned by the Council of Ministers studying the feasibility of acquiring or building, and then launching, a Kuwaiti satellite.

Mr. Alozainah has said that the satellite project committee members will include the Deputy Minister of Transport and chairman of the telecommunications sector authority, and officials from the ministries of interior, defense and scientific research institute and others.

Kuwait has never acquired and launched a satellite before, but is a member of the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat), and has a number of institutions that use remote sensing imagery and other geospatial information systems for research, land and ocean resources management, environmental monitoring, and for monitoring its oil fields.

Over the past few years Kuwait has also held discussions about possible space cooperation with the governments of China and India, but as yet it seems that little has come of these talks.

There have been rumours for several months that Kuwait has been considering the creation of a national space agency as well as the acquisition of a satellite, and possibly even the construction of a satellite by one of Kuwait’s leading higher educational institutions.

Should Kuwait proceed with its intention to acquire, and even build, a national satellite then it will become the fourth country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to enter the space domain after Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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