UAE: HCT launches first student-led space mission

The Earth-observation CubeSat, being developed in collaboration with MBRSC, is set to be launched by the end of 2024


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A total of 34 HCT students from various engineering fields are participating in the project. — Supplied photo
A total of 34 HCT students from various engineering fields are participating in the project. — Supplied photo

Published: Mon 1 Apr 2024, 6:19 PM

The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) has started work on the HCT-SAT 1 project, which is the institution’s inaugural student-led space mission.

This is being developed in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

The Earth-observation CubeSat project which has a unit size of 1U (10cm x 10cm x 10cm) is set to be launched by the end of 2024.

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This collaboration involves the centre's engineers providing comprehensive knowledge transfer and mentorship to the students across all critical phases of the satellite's life cycle, including design, development, assembly, testing, and operational management.

The collaboration between the MBRSC and HCT extends beyond just launching the payload, encompassing a comprehensive educational journey that empowers both students and faculty through specialised training and robust support in the immersive CubeSat curriculum.

Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director-General, MBRSC, said: "At the MBRSC, we are committed to fostering a culture of innovation and excellence, particularly among the youth who are the future pioneers of our nation's space sector. The commencement of the HCT-SAT 1 project is a testament to our belief in the transformative power of education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). By involving students in such high-calibre projects, we are not just educating; we are inspiring a new generation to dream big and contribute to the UAE's ambitious space exploration goals. We are confident that this hands-on experience will equip our students with the skills and knowledge required to propel the UAE National Space Programme to new heights."

This effort will see 34 male and female HCT students from diverse engineering fields such as aviation sciences, airframe design, and electrical engineering, along with Applied Media students focusing on marketing aspects, all working together as an interdisciplinary team. These students receive guidance and mentorship from nine dedicated HCT faculty members.

Dr Faisal Alayyan, HCT President & CEO, applauded the strategic collaboration with the MBRSC on the development of HCT-SAT 1.

“This initiative is a pivotal outcome of the partnership, designed to equip HCT students with advanced knowledge in space sciences. This collaboration underscores the importance of space research in driving human progress while elevating awareness of the UAE's strategic advancements and accomplishments in space exploration.”

He added: “The HCT-SAT 1 project aligns with our strategic commitment to advance applied education, foster essential future skills, and boost students' career prospects in key sectors. It will offer students who are passionate about space an invaluable gateway to the air space sector through expert-led scientific knowledge and hands-on experience.”

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