Countdown Begins for UAE’s First Satellite Launch; 51 days left

Issac John
Filed on June 5, 2009

DUBAI — DubaiSat-1, the first satellite developed by a UAE entity, will be launched on July 25, marking the beginning of an era of space technology research for the country.

The remote-sensing satellite, developed by the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science & Technology (EIAST) will enable collection of space and earth observation data. Images from DubaiSat-1 can be used for applications such as urban development, scientific research, telecommunications and transportation.

With the launch of the UAE’s first home-grown satellite on board a Russian Dnepr rocket, the country joins a select league of countries that have made strong inroads into space research and technology, said Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, EIAST Board Chairman. “But more importantly, it highlights the achievement of UAE nationals in the cutting-edge field of technology, with several UAE nationals contributing to the design and development of DubaiSat-1.”

The result of a $50 million programme started two years ago, the satellite will pave the way for the further space projects “that highlight UAE’s thought-leadership role” in space technology research, said Al Ghanim. “We look forward to July 25, 2009, only 51 days away to realise our dream.”

He described DubaiSat-1 project as a stepping stone in UAE’s attempt to create a sound infrastructure that enables the collection of space and earth data for the comprehensive development of the nation, highlighting its commitment to creating a knowledge-based economy.

EIAST, set up in 2006 to promote scientific innovation and advanced technology in the UAE and the region, is committed to positioning the UAE as a science and technology hub and establishing international collaborations and joint projects with industry and research organisations, he said.

Ahmed Al Mansoori, Director General and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, EIAST, said the project’s technological partners, Satrec Initiative of South Korea, supported the training and development of UAE nationals. “I am proud to say that the young men and women of the UAE are responsible for more than 30 per cent of the project implementation over the two years.”

He said DubaiSat-2 would be developed in the next two years. “We have plans to launch similar projects in phases. Following that DubaiSat-3 will be fully developed with the involvement of UAE nationals.

“With the launch of DubaiSat-1, we are reiterating our goal to strengthen the involvement of UAE nationals in space technology research.”

DubaiSat-1 is designed for a minimum lifetime of five years in-orbit operation, and has been tailored for earth observation and remote sensing. The satellite is capable of high-resolution imaging and is in line with internationally recognised standards in the field of remote sensing and civilian use of satellites, Al Mansoori said.

The satellite will be launched under the supervision and with the authorisation of the Russian Federal Space Agency through the Moscow-based International Space Company Kosmotras.

The launch of DubaiSat-1 consists of three segments — space, ground and actual launch. The ground segment comprises mission control station, image receiving and processing station, and antenna. EIAST is currently focused on research in four areas: observation and fog forecast; use of satellite pictures in predicting sand storms; quality of water in the Gulf region - especially the effect of waste distillation in environment and marine life surrounding the oceans existing in the UAE; and ways to improve the clarity of satellite pictures.

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