First indigenous UAE satellite KhalifaSat closer to launch

Bernd Debusmann Jr. (Chief Reporter)/Dubai Filed on January 7, 2016 | Last updated on January 7, 2016 at 07.55 am
First indigenous UAE satellite KhalifaSat closer to launch

Attendees watch a video demonstration of KhalifaSat at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai. on Wednesday. - Photo by Shihab

MBRSC Engineers and Scientists at Lab. Supplied photo

The completion of the KhalifaSat engineering model marks the penultimate step prior to the manufacturing of the flight model, which is slated for launch in 2018 on the H-IIA launch vehicle.

KhalifaSat, the first indigenous UAE satellite, is one step closer to its manufacturing platform.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has completed the final design of the engineering model of the KhalifaSat, the first satellite to be completely built and assembled in the UAE by Emirati engineers.

The KhalifaSat, the MBRSC's third and most technologically advanced satellite, is designed to provide high-resolution images and data required for disaster relief management, urban planning and environmental protection, among other uses.

The completion of the KhalifaSat engineering model marks the penultimate step prior to the manufacturing of the flight model, which is slated for launch in 2018 on the H-IIA launch vehicle, which is owned by the Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries company.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, MBRSC Director-General Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani said that the accomplishment demonstrates the increasing capabilities of Emirati engineers involved in the space sector.

"The completion of the final design of the engineering model by the KhalifaSat team is a major milestone, not only in developing this satellite. It is an achievement for the entire satellite manufacturing sector in the UAE," he said.

"The success of Emirati engineers in leading and executing this project is a testament to the skills they gained from the previous two projects, Dubaisat-1 and Dubaisat-2."

The KhalifaSat project includes seven space innovations, including an enhanced digital camera that allows for better image resolution and includes a sophisticated time delay and integration sensor that can capture images of moving objects at low-light levels, as well as improved image download and communication speeds.

Engineer Amer Al Sayegh, the Director of the MBRSC Space Systems Development Department and Project Manager of the 68-person strong KhalifaSat team, said that the team "arrived at this advanced stage after over a year of collective efforts in designing the satellite's different modules and sub-systems, as well as the prototype mechanical unit and completion of various system and design tests."

"We are proud of what we achieved thus far, yet we are even prouder that a large number of Emirati youth had the opportunity to experience the field of satellite manufacturing and technologies," he added.

Additionally, Al Sayegh noted that the number of Emirati engineers working on the project has increased by 50 per cent over the course of 2015.

The KhalifaSat team has so far manufactured 20 new electronic boards containing more than 200,000 electronic parts, as well as over 5,000 mechanical parts made of aluminium, carbon fiber reinforced polymer and steel.

The next step of the project will be the manufacture of the actual satellite that will be launched into space and the development of the ground station systems, both of which are expected to be ready for launch by the second half of 2017, well ahead of the scheduled 2018 launch.


Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Originally from Mexico City, I've been in Dubai since January 2015. Before arriving in in the UAE I worked as a general news reporter in TV and print in Mexico City, NYC and Washington DC. I'm interested in defence issues, politics, technology, aviation and history. In my spare time i enjoy traveling and football - I'm a keen fan of Chelsea FC. I developed an interest in the Middle East traveling through Jordan and the West Bank. I have a BA in Political Science from Dickinson College in the USA and an MA in International Journalism from City University London.

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