The Saudi Arabian Space Commission is reportedly about to submit a National Space Strategy and other legal and policy documents that consolidate the commission’s roles and missions to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, according to a senior Saudi Space Commission advisor speaking at a recent space event in Riyadh.
Dr. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri, an advisor at the Saudi Space Commission since April 2019, told an audience at an event held at the Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Science and Technology Centre (SCITECH) in Riyadh that, “We are waiting to submit the national space strategy to King Salman to approve it.”
French online news site Intelligence Online reported in April 2019 that the budget of the Saudi Space Commission for its first year is expected to exceed U.S.$1 billion, though there is no indication whether this level of funding is to be sustained after that period.
Saudi Arabia established the Saudi Space Commission as part of a leadership shakeup enacted by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in a Royal decree issued late on 27 December 2018.
As previously reported in SpaceWatch.Global, Saudi Arabia has a long history in space and satellite activity, with much of this activity emanating from the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST). The newly created Saudi Space Commission will likely coordinate and produce Saudi space policy and strategy across the civil, commercial, and military sectors in cooperation with other Saudi government ministries and agencies. The Space Commission will likely also be the focal point for all Saudi international space cooperation.
KACST will most probably retain its role as a Saudi centre for satellite manufacturing and research and development, as well as for implementing and managing space science and exploration research and missions.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia is believed to be actively interested in acquiring a number of military reconnaissance satellites via French or American satellite manufacturers, and is also believed to be involved in discussions with the Russian state space corporation, Roscosmos, about training and sending Saudi astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).