UAE Eyeing Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Flights

A view from SpacehipTwo. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is looking to host flights of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, The National reports.

Mohammad Al Ahbabi, director of the UAE Space Agency, said the organisation is working with Virgin Galactic on a bid to operate tourist space flights from Al Ain International Airport in the coming years….

“The reason why the company opted for Al Ain airport is that it is less crowded than other UAE airports, which are scheduled with thousands of flights.”

Airbus has used Al Ain airport to stress test its new aircraft in high summer temperatures, including the wide-body A350.

It was chosen for its hot, dry conditions and relatively quiet runways.

Abu Dhabi is part-owner of Virgin Galactic having invested $390 million in the company through its sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Investment Company (formerly known as aabar Investments).

  • Robert G. Oler

    go go go

  • ThomasLMatula

    I suspect New Mexico’s two Senators will put a stop to this using ITAR.

  • delphinus100

    When they were still a going thing, XCOR explored similar possibilities. Their answer to that situation is that they would be in full control and operation of their craft when operating overseas. It would not become the foreign entity’s actual property.

    However, I don’t think part investor was part of their equation…

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, but that was with the Netherlands, not the UAE. And no one built a spaceport for them like New Mexico did for Virgin Galactic. Two important factors.

  • Goosegoose

    The US Government has already declared VG’s space system a national defense article. Thus it is subject to ITAR regulations. Virgin Galactic is an American company, and is subject to obey US Federal Law.

    VG has been trying for YEARS to get past this to export the technology, and has failed every time. So any “marketing material” saying that VG is exporting the flight system to another country is nothing but a lie.