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DubaiSat2 launch in 2012

Allan Jacob / 16 February 2011

Dnepr rocket set to carry remote-sensing satellite from Yasny Cosmodrome in northern Russia

DUBAI — The country’s space programme will get a boost when its second satellite is placed into orbit next year. A Russian Dnepr rocket is set to carry DubaiSat2, a remote-sensing satellite in late 2012, the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) said on Wednesday.

Dnepr will blast off from Yasny Cosmodrome in northern Russia with other satellites for a clustered launch. DubaiSat2, weighing 300kg, will be the main satellite on board, the space agency said.

An agreement on the launch was signed recently by EIAST Director-General Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori and Vladimir Andreev, Director-General of International Space Company Kosmotras (ISCK), which owns and operates the launch vehicle.

Speaking on the development, Al Mansoori said: “The EIAST’s space programme sets the platform for the UAE’s quest for scientific and technological advancement in line with modern-day advances.

Besides enhancing the intellectual capital of the country, our experience with the launch of DubaiSat-1 through Kosmotras was seamless, and we are confident of a successful launch for DubaiSat-2 next year, which will further establish the UAE’s presence in the global space sector.”

DubaiSat2’s predecessor, DubaiSat1, was launched in July 2009 by a Dnepr rocket and weighed 200kg. Both the satellites were developed in collaboration by Satrec Initiative of South Korea. Sixteen Emirati engineers are currently working with the research and development team.

“Our Emirati teams in South Korea and the UAE have learnt tremendously from their participation in the design and manufacturing of DubaiSat-1, and with their 50 per cent contribution throughout the development process of DubaiSat2, the team will be able to produce a high-quality satellite to sufficiently satisfy the needs locally, regionally and internationally and which will eventually be launched by the internationally renowned Kosmotras,” added Al Mansoori. The quality of images, resolution and agility of DubaiSat2 has been improved and more details on the design aspect will be revealed by April this year. Dnepr’s launch of the UAE satellite is expected to give it better orbital height and inclination in space. It will also improve image productivity and extend the life span. The EIAST is a Dubai Government Department established to promote the culture of advanced scientific research in Dubai and the UAE and build an internationally competitive base for human skills development apart from strengthening the country’s international collaborative links and establishing joint projects with industry and research organsations worldwide.

Dnepr rockets are of Russian-Ukrainian origin and are variants of the SS-18 ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile). Russian and Ukrainian companies worked with the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in developing the commercial space launch system.

Minimum modifications were made to the original missile, and ISCK was chosen to commercially operate the system, which was renamed Dnepr.

The rockets have done over 160 missions from bases in  Baikanour in Kazakhstan and Yasny, Russia. They take off from an underground silo (a cylindrical facility similar to those used for ICBM launches) and are designed to beat adverse weather conditions.


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