Enjoy our faster App experience

Dubai satellite team cheers after successful launch

Dubai - The first signal from DMSat-1 was received at 4.42pm after take off at 10.07am.

Photos: MBRSC/Twitter
Photos: MBRSC/Twitter
Photos: MBRSC/Twitter
Photos: MBRSC/Twitter
Photos: MBRSC/Twitter
Photos: MBRSC/Twitter

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 22 Mar 2021, 5:10 PM

DMSat-1, Dubai's first miniature environment-monitoring satellite, successfully blasted off to space on Monday.

The momentous occasion was lapped up by a delighted group of Emirati engineers, who were stationed at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) control room.

The nanometric satellite achieved the feat at 10:07am UAE time from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Altogether, 38 satellites from 18 countries were onboard the Russian-made Soyuz 2.1a rocket launcher.

During the launch experts were glued to the giant display screens at MBRSC, which adorned the walls of the control room.

They waited with bated breath till the completion of the third stage of nose module separation after the lift-off. They broke into a thunderous applause to celebrate the success of the launch, which was twice postponed since Saturday (March 20).

Initially, the rocket was all set to launch DMSat-1 from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 10.07am on Saturday.

Later, the launch date was changed to Sunday (March 21) due to a surge in voltage, the Russian space agency Roscosmos had announced.

A second attempt of the launch on Sunday was also deferred due to technical snags.

Ahmed Wali, Mission Controller, DMSat-1, said: “During such missions, postponement of a launch date is not all that uncommon. Every launch has some minor issue, and the launch is delayed for the benefit of the mission.”

He added, “We’re proud that we have launched our satellite successfully into space today. Before the launch we were stressed because one doesn’t know if it'll be successful but once we know it was successful, happiness is inevitable, and the team is overjoyed.”

The project team includes 30 Emirati engineers, whose role has been to determine the needs of the Dubai Municipality and the technical characteristics of the satellite.

Female engineers deserve kudos

Women power was on show akin to other MBRSC missions.

“In this mission also, we had a significant percentage of women working for the project. We’ve always had women engineers working in other missions as well. Emirati women have been playing a pivotal role in UAE’s space sector, working on different milestone projects,” Wali added.

Alya Almaazmi, Head, Remote Sensing Application, MBRSC, shared the learning and immersive experience of the challenging project.

“It’s a very intense feeling. I’m overwhelmed by a heady mix of emotions. All the hard work that was done over the past three years was captured during the historic lift-off,” she said.

She echoed the feeling of her elated team members.

“The DMSat-1 team feels proud of themselves after the successful launch of the satellite. It’s a new record for MBRSC and the country at large. We’re looking forward to our next achievement. The team has been working on this project since 2017. Though there were multiple challenges. Each time, it has successfully overcome the impediments,” she added.

DMSat-1 will also generate information that will be useful in urban planning and land use. It will support global efforts in preserving the environment and addressing climate change.

DMSat-1, which weighs only 15 kilograms (kg), is the region’s first low-orbit environmental satellite, contains three scientific instruments.

The primary instrument is a multispectral polarimeter used to monitor air quality and detect fine particles in the atmosphere while the secondary instrument comprises a pair of spectrometers to detect greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).

“It has been an exciting experience…the fact that we’re working on a new field especially, with regards to the area of remote sensing data analysis and employing this data for environmental applications. Everyone has worked very hard.

The data from this mission will also help understand environmental impacts such as global warming which in turn affect the life of the people living here. It also indicates how the UAE remains committed to environmental issues especially in the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050,” Almaazmi added.

More news from UAE