Interviews Oman

Launching the Future: H.H. Azzan Al Said, CEO of NASCOM, Unveils Vision for Etlaq Spaceport at the Forefront of Gulf Space Exploration

Azzan Al Said has been involved with technology ventures and startups since 2014. Such initiatives include fintech platforms, high-output computer systems, and nanotech solutions for wear resistance within industrial applications. Azzan has been advising the National Space Program in Oman since 2021 and founded the National Aerospace Services Company (NASCOM) in the same year to facilitate the development of concepts within the Sultanate’s space sector. Since 2022, NASCOM has been spearheading the country’s initiative to develop the Middle East’s first commercial spaceport. In parallel to his involvement with space and technology, Azzan actively promotes sports and is the vice president of the national olympic committee of Oman. His qualifications are:  BSc in politics and philosophy and a postgraduate diploma in international management from Oxford Brookes University, and he is a professionally qualified army officer from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. 

About NASCOM –

About ETLAQ-

NASCOM has been making significant strides in Gulf space exploration with the Etlaq spaceport project. Can you provide our readers with an overview of the current status and key achievements over the past six months?

Absolutely. Over the last six months, NASCOM has been diligently laying the groundwork for the Etlaq spaceport. We’ve secured funding from local investors, engaged with regulators, and marked a major milestone by awarding the engineering consultancy contract to UK Launch Services Ltd.

Could you share insights into how NASCOM has actively engaged with local regulators, international consultants, and regional space programs to shape the foundational planning for the Etlaq spaceport?

Collaboration with local regulators ensures compliance with national laws, covering safety standards, environmental impact assessments, and necessary permits. Our engagement with international consultants involves seeking expertise in technical consultations and feasibility studies. Additionally, collaboration with regional space programs fosters information exchange and potential joint initiatives.

The recent partnership with UK Launch Services Ltd is noteworthy. Can you elaborate on the role of this partnership and provide details about the ongoing process of designing the master plan for the Etlaq spaceport?

The partnership with UK Launch Services Ltd is pivotal. UK LSL brings expertise in space launch operations, contributing significantly to designing the master plan. The ongoing process involves detailed consultations to ensure a robust blueprint for the Etlaq spaceport’s development.

NASCOM Awards Etlaq Spaceport Contract to UKLSL

Looking ahead, what are the next steps in collaboration with UK LSL, and how does NASCOM foresee their expertise influencing the future development of the Etlaq spaceport?

Our collaboration with UK LSL will involve ongoing technical consultations, technology integration, and a focus on environmental considerations, regulatory compliance, and operational efficiency improvements. Their expertise will play a pivotal role in ensuring the Etlaq spaceport’s success and competitiveness in the global space industry.

NASCOM aims to promote global partnerships. How does the collaboration with UK LSL fit into the broader strategy for international collaboration in the Gulf’s space industry?

Our collaboration with UK LSL aligns with our broader strategy of promoting global partnerships. It enhances our capabilities and contributes to global credibility, diplomatic relations, and fostering international trade and cooperation. This collaboration strategically positions NASCOM in the global space industry.

With neighboring countries advancing their space programs, does NASCOM envision a potential collaboration with these nations, and are there plans for regional space cooperation in the Gulf?

Oman is keen on fostering regional collaboration. The Etlaq spaceport aims to attract multiple users, presenting opportunities for shared infrastructure, knowledge transfer, and joint projects. We see regional space cooperation as pivotal for advancing space exploration collectively in the Arabian Gulf.

Are there specific technological advancements or innovative approaches that NASCOM aims to integrate into the Etlaq spaceport, ensuring its competitiveness in the evolving Gulf space industry?

We aim to adopt cutting-edge technologies, including reusable rocket technology, advanced launch vehicle designs, automation, artificial intelligence, environmental monitoring, green propulsion systems, and space traffic management. These innovations ensure the Etlaq spaceport remains competitive.

How is NASCOM incorporating environmental considerations and sustainable practices into the planning and development of the Etlaq spaceport?

Sustainability is a key focus in the development of the Etlaq spaceport. Practices include green infrastructure design, resource efficiency, wildlife conservation, waste management, community engagement, and carbon footprint reduction.

What is the anticipated timeline for breaking ground at the Etlaq spaceport site and achieving milestones outlined in the 24-month development plan for the first phase of the project?

We plan to break ground in the second quarter of 2024. The 24-month development plan outlines a structured approach to construction, testing, and integration activities, ensuring a methodical and successful implementation.

How does NASCOM plan to leverage its role as an official partner in the Middle East Space Conference to advance the Etlaq spaceport project and foster collaborations?

We aim to showcase the vision, innovation, and technological advancements of the Etlaq spaceport. The unveiling is expected to generate significant interest, attract investors, and foster collaborations with international stakeholders. It’s a key step in positioning NASCOM as a prominent player in the global and Gulf space industry.

How does NASCOM plan to leverage its role as an official partner in the Middle East Space Conference to advance the Etlaq spaceport project and foster collaborations?

Our sponsorship provides a platform to showcase achievements, particularly the significant milestone with UK LSL. The conference is an ideal opportunity to unveil the Etlaq spaceport master plan, fostering international interest and collaborations. As an official partner, we gain privileged access to networking events, strengthening global collaborations.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *