What will happen to Expo 2020 Dubai’s giant SpaceX rocket?

Officials are trying to find the 43-metre Falcon 9 booster replica a permanent home in the UAE following the conclusion of the world’s fair


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US pavilion organisers at Expo 2020 Dubai are on the hunt for a permanent home in the UAE for an enormous SpaceX rocket model that was on display at the world’s fair.

The 43-metre tall Falcon 9 booster replica was one of the most eye-catching displays at the mega event, which welcomed visitors into the US pavilion for six months.

Mist flowing from beneath the model represented the white smoke that leaves the rocket as it lifts-off the ground, and red lighting and sound effects made the display even more realistic.

Christine Lawson, deputy consul general at the US Consulate in Dubai, said during a space diplomacy talk on Thursday the booster replica could continue to be a top visitor attraction in the Emirates.

“If you visited the US pavilion at the expo, you saw a replica of the Falcon 9, and we’re hoping to find a permanent home for that here in the UAE, so everyone can continue to enjoy that,” she said.

The US pavilion had a strong focus on space-themed displays, including Moon rock samples brought back by Apollo missions, a replica of one of its Mars rovers and a visit from astronaut Scott Kelly.

Thursday’s event was organised by the Diplomacy Lab, a community-driven initiative that focuses on innovation, culture and youth. It was set up by the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative and the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy.

The lab is holding a series of dialogues with senior government officials who will shed light on diplomacy-related topics.

Salem Al Marri, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, and Adnan Al Rais, project manager of Mars 2117, were guest speakers at the event.

Ms Lawson gave the closing remarks, where she also spoke about the relationship between the UAE and US with regards to space exploration.

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“The UAE was one of the very first countries to sign on to the Artemis Accords, which is going to set the guidelines for space exploration,” she said.

“They also worked very closely with some of our US universities on the Hope probe. We’re proud of our co-operation with Emirati astronauts and our Nasa training programme.

“We’re really looking forward to some of the future collaborations, whether that’s data sharing between the Mars probe and Nasa’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) programme, or the launch of the Rashid lunar rover, which is going to take place from one of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets out of the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.”

Updated: April 22, 2022, 1:58 PM