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Data from Dubai's first DMSat-1 to detect sources of air pollutants in the UAE

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on March 16, 2021 | Last updated on March 19, 2021 at 01.48 pm

DMSat-1 is all set to be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 20 at 10:07 am UAE time

Data collected from Dubai's first miniature environment-monitoring satellite, DMSat-1, will detect the source of air pollutants and concentration of dust and its impact on public health in the UAE.

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The data will also be used for employing environmental outputs in urban planning and land use in Dubai and will support global efforts in preserving the environment and addressing climate change, engineers and scientists managing the project said on Tuesday.

DMSat-1, the first satellite to be launched by a government entity in Dubai, is all set to be launched from a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 20 at 10:07 am UAE time.

Weighing only 15 kilograms (kg), DMSat-1 can perform tasks done by much larger satellites weighing 1,000 kg at least, said Adnan Al Rais, programme head of DMSat-1, during a media briefing on Tuesday. The briefing was also attended by Alia Al Harmoudi, director of the environment department at the Dubai Municipality.

Al Harmoudi explained DMSat-1 has been developed and would be launched in line with the vision of the country's leadership. "The advanced environmental monitoring system in the satellite will collect data from the atmosphere, and we are planning to build a space database which will strengthen our environmental future."

She said, "The satellite can measure the impact of climate change in the UAE and meet international obligations to improve the air quality in the country."

Engineers at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre(MBRSC) completed the final checks on DMSat-1 done before launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 20. The satellite is expected to separate from the launch vehicle into its orbit at 2:20 pm and send its first signal at 3 pm (UAE time).

The satellite has been built and developed by the Space Flight Laboratory at the University of TorontoInstitute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). Al Rais said, "The Space Flight Lab is a purely commercial entity. There were no Emiratis involved in building the satellite. For this mission, we are focusing on the downstream activities, including artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning algorithms."

What are the objectives of DMSat-1?

The satellite objectives are the employment of space technology and artificial intelligence to enhance the environmental monitoring programme at a national level, monitor particulate matter concentrations (dust, PM2.5, PM10), monitor concentrations of greenhouse gasses, and carbon dioxide methane, and water vapour.

Al Harmoudi said improving air quality is one of the main agendas in the UAE government's Vision 2021. She said, "With DMSat-1, we hope to meet the targets set by the national agenda."

Al Rais said, "The satellite can orbit around the planet at an altitude of 550km from the Earth's surface and has a turnover rate of 14 revolutions around the Earth per day. It is equipped with three instruments with high-resolution cameras and a GPS."

Tangible benefits:

Building a space database of air pollutants and gases that cause climate change

Developing the capabilities of the UAE in analysing and employing space data in the field of municipal work

Utilising environmental outputs in urban planning and land use in the city

Study on air pollutant concentrations and the impact on public health

Support global efforts in preserving the environment and addressing climate change

Enhancing the leadership role of the country in the field of environmental scientific research

Technical specifications

Orbit: At an altitude of 550km from the Earth's surface

Turnover rate: 14 revolutions around the Earth per day

Technology: Equipped with three instruments with high-resolution cameras and GPS

Lifespan: Between two and three years

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88





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