Press Release

Announcing Nanoracks’ StarLab Space Farming Center

By SpaceRef Editor
November 10, 2020
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Today, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has announced that they are partnering with Nanoracks via their Agriculture Technology (AgTech) Incentive Program, an effort that supports the development of cutting-edge programs to boost the emirate’s AgTech capabilities and promote innovation. 

As the largest commercial user of the International Space Station, Nanoracks is building the first-ever commercial space research program. Nanoracks is seeking through innovations in space-based AgTech to solve key food sustainability challenges on Earth, mostly caused by climate change, which can help to ‘green the desert.’ The incentives from ADIO will allow Nanoracks to build the first StarLab Space Farming Center in Abu Dhabi as a commercial space research center. The Center will be focused on advancing knowledge and technology about organisms and food that are produced in the harsh and alien environment of space.

You can read the full announcement here:

You can read an in-depth question and answer interview with CEO Jeffrey Manber here:

Press Release Excerpt from ADIO:

Abu Dhabi’s AgTech ecosystem expands across land, sea and Three innovative agriculture companies will develop cutting-edge projects in Abu Dhabi to boost the emirate’s agriculture technology (AgTech) capabilities across land, sea and space. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) announced today individual partnerships with Pure Harvest Smart Farms (Pure Harvest), FreshToHome and Nanoracks that will see the companies receive financial and non-financial incentives totalling AED 152 million (USD 41 million). The research and technologies developed by these companies will expand existing capabilities in Abu Dhabi’s AgTech ecosystem and promote innovation in the sector to address global food security challenges…

…US-based Nanoracks, the single largest commercial user of the International Space Station, opened its first UAE office in Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, Hub71, in 2019. Nanoracks is building the first-ever commercial AgTech space research programme, the ‘StarLab Space Farming Center’, in Abu Dhabi as a commercial space research facility focused on advancing knowledge and technology for organisms and food produced in space and in equally extreme climates on Earth. The space-based technology will be applied to desert agriculture to address pressing environmental and food security challenges and to benefit long-term human space exploration.

Allen Herbert, SVP of Business Development and Strategy, and Head of Nanoracks, UAE, said: “Much of today’s technology used for vertical, urban and closed environment agriculture initially came from space research from 30 years ago, and Nanoracks is ready to synergise these technologies back to in-space exploration. We firmly believe that space research holds the keys to solving major challenges on Earth from climate change to food security. And our StarLab Space Farming Center in Abu Dhabi is just the beginning. We’re building a global research and development team that will produce and commercialise organisms, technology, and innovative products that will not only revolutionise farming in Earth’s deserts and harsh environments, but also change the way humans are able to explore deeper into our universe.”

SpaceRef staff editor.