Oman joins the Middle Eastern Space Race and is poised to build the first space launch vehicle in the region. The ambitious project, Etlaq, which will be overseen by the Sultanate’s National Aerospace Services Company (NASCOM), is set to be a three-year construction effort to build a globally accessible rocket launch platform.
Oman hopes to launch its first suborbital rocket
According to NASCOM, the launch center, called Etlaq, will not only serve as a hub for expanding rocket companies, but also as a local resource for educational research programs. The organization also hopes to use the facility to build Oman’s first suborbital rocket, a significant step forward for the nation’s aerospace industry. “The scale of rocket we are developing is comparable to the suborbital rockets which are launched by universities and colleges in the USA, which measure between 3 to 6 meters in length.”, the company revealed.
One of the key factors that makes Duqm an ideal location for this project is its equatorial position. The Sultanate believes that it allows rockets to take advantage of the Earth’s rotational speed, providing a boost to their trajectory and increasing the chances of successful launches. NASCOM declared that “Internationally verified studies have identified that Wilayat Al-Duqm’s equatorial positioning places it in the top 5 most efficient rocket launch latitudes in the world.”
Etlaq Space Launch Complex, the Spaceport of the Future!
Housed in Duqm, Oman. Etlaq will be the #MENA region's largest, & most versatile, space launch complex. Offering design & production, testing, & launch facilities for Rocket & Satellite Operatorshttps://t.co/FkPC9Dzh60 pic.twitter.com/oAyzE5pZA4
— DarkStar Aerospace (@DarkStarAero) October 5, 2022
A Middle Eastern space race
This announcement comes at a time when interest in space exploration and technology is skyrocketing, as the Middle East is increasingly investing in space research and exploration programs. “The rockets will inspire the youth to pursue science and technology and will set a standard for future generations to achieve and surpass”, NASCOM announced.