Satellite designed by UAE students reaches orbit

Staff Reporter/Abu Dhabi
Filed on July 13, 2021
Image: @admediaoffice/Twitter

DhabiSat is the second CubeSat designed and built by Khalifa University students.

A satellite designed by students in the UAE has been put in orbit.

The Khalifa University of Science and Technology and Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) announced on Tuesday that DhabiSat “gently eased into its orbit” after leaving the International Space Station (ISS).

It was deployed into orbit from Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply spacecraft.

DhabiSat is the second CubeSat designed and built by Khalifa University students.

The primary mission of the satellite is to enable students to design, implement and test software modules for attitude determination and control subsystems (ADCS). The work was conducted at the Yahsat Space Lab.

It will assess the accuracy of various ADCS pointing control strategies and validate the same by taking images using a digital camera onboard pointed in specific directions.

It will require less power to achieve the targeted pointings and, if successful, the algorithms will gain flight heritage on board DhabiSat, which then can be used as a baseline for future CubeSat missions.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice-president, Khalifa University, said that the students are planning to build another CubeSat in the future.

“As the UAE begins to consolidate its status as a space power in the world, we look forward to creating more scientific talent and human capital, especially in the space science sector, along with our academic and industry partners.”

Yahsat’s chief human capital officer Muna Almheiri said DhabiSat’s successful deployment “underscores the aptitude, skills and maturity of our youth to manage multi-pronged programmes and work with the leading lights in the global space industry”.

“The UAE’s space ambitions are not defined or limited by national borders, and DhabiSat is a perfect example of what a country can achieve through national and international collaborations.”

Earlier, MySat-1, the first CubeSat developed by students of Khalifa University, was deployed from the NG-10 Cygnus spacecraft in February 2019.

The educational and communication CubeSat sent images from space that were received by the satellite ground station at Khalifa University.

In addition, a new Lithium Ion battery, manufactured at Khalifa University’s Masdar Institute laboratories, was also tested in space. Students and faculty have so far published several papers based on the data from MySat-1.

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