Dubai’s space ambitions soar with new satellite

Allan Jacob (Senior Editor) Filed on November 22, 2013
Dubaiís space ambitions soar with new satellite

Dubai Sat-2 was part of the Dnepr Cluster Mission 2013, which carried 24 satellites into space.

Dubai’s fledgling space programme received a boost with the perfect launch of its second satellite, Dubai Sat-2, into orbit by a Russian rocket on Thursday. The Dnepr rocket blasted off from Yasny with the satellite, and the successful mission was lauded by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

In a tweet, Shaikh Mohammed said the launch of Dubai Sat-2 ‘‘marked another national achievement by our young Emiratis’’.

‘‘We’ve always believed in our people and have invested to release their potentials, and they’ve always been a source of pride to our nation,’’ he added.

The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) said the UAE team of engineers at the ground station established contact with Dubai Sat-2, which entered its assigned orbit 15 minutes and 33 seconds after its launch, and were tracking its progress. The current speed of Dubai Sat-2 is 7.55 km/s and its orbit has been set at 600km above the earth.

Dubai Sat-2 is an advanced version of the Dubai Sat-1, and is equipped with an electrical propulsion system which adjusts its altitude, and makes changes if it deviates from orbit through a set of saved commands from the control station. “We take great pride in this new accomplishment, which highlights Dubai’s great development in terms of building national UAE capacities in the space field — a feat that remains true to the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, of transforming the UAE into a pioneering nation,’’ said Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director-General of the space agency.

The new satellite is 300 per cent more agile than its predecessor and its manouvering capabilities have been enhanced to meet mission objectives.

Engineers tracking it said it had automatically deployed its solar panels, which would power it through its planned five-year mission. The satellite can orbit the earth in 96 minutes.

‘‘This is a culmination of years of vision and hard work to make the UAE a global hub for building satellites and a leading center for space technology,” said Al Shaibani, who added that Dubai Sat-3 would be launched in 2017.

Salem Al Marri, Assistant General Manager of Scientific and Technical Affairs, said the new satellite was traversing at a descending North-to-South orbit and would ‘‘comprehensively’’ cover the UAE to support surveys and scientific research.

The satellite weighs 300kg, is two metres tall and 1.5 metres wide and was developed by Emirati and South Korean engineers. It will provide higher quality, electro-optical imagery for environmental projects, urban planning and infrastructure. It can scan the world, taking multiple images of the specific areas in a day, and also transmit and process these images.

Dubai Sat-2 was part of the Dnepr Cluster Mission 2013, which carried 24 satellites into space. Kosmatras, the Russian-Ukrainian venture, said all its payloads were successfully placed in their orbits by the RS-20 Dnepr rocket at 11.10am local time.

The civilian launch system is based on technology used by the Inter-continental Ballistic Missile, the SS-18, which has since been retired from service. —


Allan Jacob

A news junkie with an abiding interest in foreign affairs. I'm a keen follower and learner of the media and how it will pan out in the future when the common man and woman will themselves be journalists and not just sources of information. Lead a team of bright journalists who are driving the change and have their feet on the ground.

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