Space tourism company Virgin Galactic LLC and Aabar Investments PJS have hired Steve Landeene, the former executive director of New Mexico’s Spaceport America, to serve as their chief adviser for a spaceport the two companies seek to build in the United Arab Emirates.

Virgin Galactic and Aabar said in an April 17 press release that Landeene will be responsible for developing a roadmap for the proposed construction of Spaceport Abu Dhabi. Under a deal announced in 2009, Spaceport Abu Dhabi was granted exclusive regional rights for tourism and scientific research flights flown aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip-Two reusable suborbital spaceplane.