Tuesday, June 25, 2024

I believe our current generation has the opportunity to elevate our country once again and achieve new levels of productivity within the global space sector: HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said, Co-founder & CEO, NASCOM

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I believe our current generation has the opportunity to elevate our country once again and achieve new levels of productivity within the global space sector: HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said, Co-founder & CEO, NASCOM

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HH Sayed Azzan Al Said
HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said, Co-founder & CEO, NASCOM

Profile
Since 2014, HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said has been deeply immersed in technology ventures and startups, focusing on diverse initiatives such as fintech platforms, high-output computer systems, and nanotech solutions geared towards enhancing wear resistance in industrial applications.

Starting in 2021, he has been guiding Oman’s National Space Program and established the National Aerospace Services Company (NASCOM) in the same year. NASCOM plays a pivotal role in fostering concepts within Oman’s space sector.

Notably, since 2022, NASCOM has been at the forefront of Oman’s pioneering efforts to establish the Middle East’s first commercial spaceport.

In parallel to his involvement with space and technology, HH Azzan bin Kais actively promotes sports and is the vice president of the National Olympic Committee of Oman.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Philosophy, as well as a postgraduate diploma in International Management from Oxford Brookes University.

Additionally, he is a professionally qualified army officer, having completed his training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.


Your Highness, could you share a bit about your personal journey and the experiences that have shaped your career, particularly your involvement with technology ventures, startups, and your role in the National Space Program?

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said: During my time at university in the UK from 2011 to 2016, there was significant global growth in the technology sector. This made tech startups particularly appealing, even though I was studying politics and philosophy. Initially, it was not immediately clear how I could be part of such a thriving industry. However, I soon realized a clear connection between the high-level thought processes governing even the most advanced technologies and my ability to learn about emerging technologies.

We should remember that space science involves various disciplines, many of which overlap with existing technologies

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais
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Regarding the space program, we should remember that space science involves various disciplines, many of which overlap with existing technologies. When I returned to Oman, I had gained enough experience in the sector to advise the newly founded space program on ways to develop and refine its concepts.

Given your diverse involvement in technology initiatives, fintech platforms, and even nanotech solutions, how do you see these ventures reflecting your personal interests and passions? What drives your engagement in such cutting-edge fields?

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said: I think one of the main aspects that interested me in such initiatives is the challenge and potential for disruption. To me, the notion that a challenging endeavor holds more value than settling for mediocrity is significant.

Since founding NASCOM in 2021, you have been at the forefront of Oman’s space sector initiative. How does your leadership style contribute to the development of concepts within the Sultanate’s space sector, and what inspires your dedication to this pioneering endeavor?

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said: So, my main inspiration is to be able to contribute and enable the Sultanate of Oman to play a significant role within the global space and science community. Historically, Oman has been a global player in maritime trade. I believe our current generation has the opportunity to elevate our country once again and achieve new levels of productivity within the global space sector.

To me, the notion that a challenging endeavor holds more value than settling for mediocrity is significant

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais
Moving towards the Etlaq spaceport project, what inspired the vision for this ambitious venture? How does your personal commitment align with the broader goals of NASCOM in spearheading the country’s initiative to develop the Middle East’s first commercial spaceport?

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said: The main inspiration behind the Etlaq spaceport project stemmed from Oman’s unique natural advantage—a highly conducive environment for efficient space launches. This advantage lies in our equatorial position and an easterly downrange clearance off the coast of Wilayat Al Duqm.

With unwavering support from the Ministry of Transport Communication and IT, we have embarked on this journey to harness such a natural asset for the benefit of Oman and the global launch industry as a whole.

Apart from your endeavors in technology and space, you are also the Vice President of the National Olympic Committee of Oman. How do you find a balance between your involvement in cutting-edge technology and your passion for promoting sports on a national level?

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said: I find the key to balancing sports and technology is through my passion for golf. Golf is a truly challenging sport that requires a deep understanding of various scientific aspects, such as calculating distances, considering the trajectory of the golf ball, accounting for weather conditions, and devising overall strategies.

In my view, playing golf is a highly scientific activity, where the realms of sports and technology converge, providing a stimulating experience for the mind. At the national level, the significance of sports science is steadily increasing each year.

Nowadays, we observe a shift toward what they term “new space” or the commercialization of space

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais
Your academic background includes a BSc in politics and philosophy and a postgraduate diploma in international management. How have these academic pursuits, combined with your military training, contributed to your approach to leading ventures like NASCOM?

HH Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Tarik Al Said: When you examine my degree from a politics and philosophy point of view, it is good to have a genuine understanding of politics when delving into something like space. The first 50 years of space exploration were inseparable from politics. Nowadays, we observe a shift toward what they term “new space” or the commercialization of space.

From a high-level perspective, I believe it is crucial to have that understanding, especially if you are not a technical person. You need some input from that elevated level. The military training was officer training, emphasizing leadership. It is akin to taking what you learned at university, understanding how to employ that knowledge to become a leader, and utilizing those leadership skills to effectively apply them to space, technology, or any business for that matter. It proves useful not only in the field of battle but also in the boardroom.

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