More than 400 space and satellite experts from 30 countries gathered today in Abu Dhabi for the fourth edition of the Global Space & Satellite Forum (GSSF) and Milsatcom Middle East, two of the world’s most important space business and military satellite communications forums.
Taking place from 7-8 May at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal Abu Dhabi, the co-located two-day forums provide global leaders in space technology the opportunity to meet with regional government, military, and commercial organisations and tap into a multi-billion dollar space sector across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.
With the satellite communications requirement across the region continuing to grow for both military and commercial applications, speakers highlighted Earth Observation data and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), as key growth areas for the sector.
Koen Williams, Market Director for Government & Defence at Newtec, and one of the panellist speakers at Milsatcom Middle East, said: “The Middle East and Africa will continue to dominate the demand for satellite bandwidth to support international missions in regional hotspots as well as the increased need for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.”
In the wake of the Arab Spring, there is a need to build up communications infrastructure. The importance of surveillance to safeguard borders, for crowd control during events and efforts to maintain peace in the region will definitely give a push to satcom requirements.
Tony THOMA, Sales Director for Arianespace, “Apart from telecommunications, navigation and Earth Observation satellites, mostly located in low and medium orbits and traditionally driven by national governments, will find a solid commercial footing in Middle East space sector in the next five years.”
“The major enthusiasm in the Middle East for Earth Observation is a new development, be it for civil, governmental, or military purposes. The first country to make the move in high resolution will become the envy of its neighbours, generating a strong demand for these services in the region.”
The Middle East holds strategic importance for Arianespace, which has launched 18 satellites in the region, the most recent being the Abu Dhabi’s Yahsat Y1A satellite in 2011.
“This represents a 70 per cent market share,” added Thoma. “We are very proud to have contributed to the successful deployment of key means of telecommunications, providing the region with cutting edge capabilities. Our goal is to continue to be a part of this dynamism.”
Other headline speakers at Milsatcom Middle East and the Global Space & Satellite Forum include Dr. Eng. Mohammed N. Alahbabi, Chief Information Officer and ICT Advisor for the Center of Excellence of the UAE Armed Forces; Paul Millington, Vice President for Business Growth at Astrium; and Hugues Lancrenon, Satcom Systems Bid Manager at Thales Communication and Security.
Dennis Jones, President of Jones Consulting Group, and another speaker today at GSSF reemphasised the important role of Earth Observation (EO) data in a range of applications, including internal security purposes or responding to natural and man-made disasters.
“The most significant use of EO data for internal security purposes would be for border mapping and monitoring,” said Jones. “The Dubai Police Department uses earth observation data and geospatial mapping technology to assist in its law enforcement and public safety activities.
“EO data and systems have also been used all over the world to plan for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters. EO data enables the creation of highly accurate, up to date maps, which are critical in any crisis. When disaster strikes, either natural or man-made, these maps can be refreshed with the latest available imagery data.”
Organised by Streamline Marketing Group, Milsatcom Middle East and the Global Space and Satellite Forum and are supported by Space Reconnaissance, Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) and GVF.
Gold Sponsors include Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, Yahsat, Astrium, Thales, ThalesAlenia Space, and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). Further information about Milsatcom Middle East and the Global Space and Satellite Forum is available at www.gssforum.com / www.milsatcom.me.