Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Saudi investor leads $350m funding for US space company

Saudi astronaut and Axiom Mission-2 Mission Specialist Rayyanah Barnawi enters the International Space Station Nasa
Saudi astronaut and Axiom Mission-2 Mission Specialist Rayyanah Barnawi enters the International Space Station
  • Saudi astronauts on Axiom-operated mission
  • Aljazira Capital backs rival to Musk’s SpaceX
  • Kingdom commits to entering space race

An investment firm from Saudi Arabia has led a $350 million funding round for Axiom Space, three months after the US company took the kingdom’s first astronauts to the International Space Station.

Axiom Space said the Series-C funding round was led by Saudi Arabia’s Aljazira Capital and South Korean healthcare firm Boryung, taking its total raise to $505 million.

That makes it the second most funded private space company in 2023, only behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

In May, Saudi astronauts Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi were part of the Axiom Mission 2, the world’s second all-private mission to the ISS.

The Saudi Space Commission was set up in 2018. Three years ago it allocated $2.1 billion to its space programme as part of Vision 2030.

The investment went towards the Saudi Space Accelerator Programme, which aims to attract 20 startups in space tourism, exploration, satellite communication and space photography.

“We believe in the importance of innovation in various sectors and across various markets,” Naif AlMesned, CEO and managing director of Aljazira Capital, said.

“In line with the Saudi Vision 2030’s transformative approach, we acknowledge the need for technology toward the advancement of human life.”

Aljazira Capital CEO Naif AlMesned and Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini signing the funding round documentsAxiom Space
Aljazira Capital CEO Naif AlMesned and Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini signing the funding documents

In June of this year, the kingdom replaced the Commission with the Saudi Space Agency, saying at the time: “The resolution to transform the Saudi Space Commission into the Saudi Space Agency reflects the continuous interest in creating a sustainable economic and innovative environment for the space sector and its technologies”.

Experts told AGBI last month that this was an important milestone as Saudi Arabia plays catch-up with the likes of the US, China, Japan and France as well as its neighbour, the UAE, which last year launched the Rashid Rover, the first Arab-built lunar spacecraft.

“Although they are in an earlier stage of their space-sector development than the Emiratis, the Saudis are now moving fast,” said Bayly Winder, non resident scholar from the Middle East Institute’s strategic technologies and cyber security programme.

“They are asserting themselves by making rapidly bold moves. The combination of money being invested into the space programme and buy-in from the highest levels of government is potent.” 

The global space tech industry was worth $4.5 trillion in 2021 and is expected to reach $10 trillion by 2030, according to SpaceTech Analytics.

“By capitalising on this momentum, the kingdom has the potential to propel itself to the forefront of the international space race and emerge as a major force in shaping the future of space technology and exploration,” Dmitry Kaminskiy, general partner at tech specialist Deep Knowledge Group, said. 

Axiom has a $1.3 billion contract with Nasa to develop the first private space station as well as spacesuits for use on the moon and other space programmes.

It expects to launch the first module of its private space station by 2026.

Latest articles

Flooding in Dubai affected many people's homes. Emaar has promised .free repairs for its residents, and an upgraded sewerage system is planned

Emaar promises free repairs as Dubai launches sewerage system

Emaar Properties is offering free repairs to residents whose homes were damaged during this week’s extreme flooding, as Dubai also announced an AED80 billion ($22 billion) sewerage system. The developer announced on Friday that it would repair all homes in its communities affected by the historic levels of rain, “at no cost to residents”. Emaar’s […]

A customer paying with a credit card inside the Black Friday Market in Beirut. Lebanon wants more people to move away from cash

Lebanon launches plan to promote use of bank cards

Lebanese central bank Banque du Liban announced a new agreement on Thursday that it hopes will result in a rebound in the use of bank cards. As part of the agreement, Mastercard and Visa will lower card fees on transactions, particularly for people with bank accounts based outside Lebanon. In a press release, the bank […]

Construction work in Kuwait. Nurseries, schools and shops are being built for the new residential district of Al Metlaa

Kuwait signs $140m contracts for Al Metlaa development

Kuwait’s Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) has signed two contracts worth KD42 million ($140 million) to construct public buildings in Al Metlaa, a new residential district north of Kuwait City. Nurseries, stores, schools and shops will be included, state news agency Kuna reported. Electricity connections have been provided for 109 buildings in the district, […]

Iraq gas oil

Iraq to auction 30 oil and gas projects this month

Iraq will auction 30 new oil and gas projects in two licensing rounds before the end of April. The bidding round will be held on April 27, Reuters reported, citing an oil ministry statement. Last October Iraq passed a long-awaited oil and gas law, which will help the country attract more international investments into the hydrocarbon industry and boost government revenues.  Ali Metwally, an […]