Saudi Arabia creates Neo Space Group to launch satellites

Saudi Arabia creates Neo Space Group to launch satellites
Saudi Arabia enters the space race with new company. / CC: bne IntelliNews
By bnm Gulf bureau May 28, 2024

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced the creation of Neo Space Group (NSG). 

The new entity will seek to develop the kingdom's space and satellite capabilities by developing local expertise and boosting the country's position within the growing global space economy. NSG aims to develop and enhance commercial space operations in Saudi Arabia by providing satellite and space technology. 

The PIF wholly-owned company, NSG, will invest in local and international assets and capabilities and promising venture capital opportunities to catalyse the advancement and localisation of sector-specific expertise.

NSG is set to work on four dedicated business segments: satellite communications, earth observation and remote sensing, satellite navigation and Internet of Things, as well as a satellite and space-focused venture capital fund.

"The establishment of NSG marks an important milestone in the development of the growing satellite and space sector in Saudi Arabia and the ambition to be a leading commercial player in the global satellite sector," said Omar Al-Madhi, Co-head of MENA Direct Investments at PIF.                 

He added that it represents PIF's first investment focused on the space industry, "unlocking new opportunities" for the Saudi economy and private sector while "driving economic expansion" in several related strategic sectors.

Saudi Arabia does not have its own dedicated spaceport currently, but the country has ambitious plans and several initiatives in place to advance its space capabilities.

The Saudi Space Agency, established in 2018, has several plans as part of the wider space push. Earlier in 2023, Saudi Arabia said it was collaborating with international partners, including VisionCosmos, having participated in a successful launch from Spaceport Nova Scotia in Canada.

One of the challenges Saudi Arabia faces in establishing a space launch facility is its geographical location, particularly the latitude, which complicates missions requiring equatorial orbits. Saudi Arabia is exploring alternative solutions to address these challenges, such as sea launch platforms.

The kingdom is also a signatory of the Artemis Accords, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable space exploration and international cooperation.