MBRSC sign agreement with UN agency for satellite payload hosting

File photo
File photo

Both parties will provide opportunities that offer cost-effective and modular satellite platforms to host multi-purpose payloads.


Nandini Sircar

Published: Sat 30 Oct 2021, 5:58 PM

Furthering collaboration in the realm of space, a new agreement on satellite payload hosting has come to fruition.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote technical development and cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

Through this agreement the two parties will provide opportunities in the Payload Hosting Initiative (PHI) which offers a cost-effective and modular satellite platforms that can host multi-purpose payloads.

PHI is intended to contribute to broadening space activities and applications and to advancing human resource development in line with the mission and objectives of UNOOSA’s Access to Space for All initiative and MBRSC’s demonstrated commitment to promoting space science and technology.

UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo opined, “Cooperating with MBRSC is a step forward in our endeavour to bridge the space divide through the Access to Space for All Initiative. Together, we will support the development of space-related technical capabilities, infrastructure and human skills. Utilizing MBRSC payload hosting capabilities, we will lower the entry barrier to access space and enable development teams to focus on their envisioned objectives aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.”

This partnership will raise awareness of the role that space science and technology play in accelerating efforts towards sustainable socio-economic development, and contribute to building national capacity in spacecraft engineering, design and construction.

Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General, MBRSC said, “We launched PHI to facilitate a greater understanding of the benefits of using satellite-related technologies as well as assist partners and entities to deploy and operate payloads in space on board our satellite. Our partnership with UNOOSA will further bolster this programme and enable us to provide countries with better opportunities to deploy their planned space payloads using our platform and give access to space to developing nations. PHI will also act as a platform for new countries to enter space through cooperation with the UAE.”

Space Debris is a concern

Earlier, the issue of space debris and the need for collaboration between countries to reduce costs, increase sustainability and promote space inclusivity were among the topics raised during the ‘Space4Sustainability’ forum organised by the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Di Pippo had pointed out, “Many initiatives have given opportunities for other countries to enter space. Two recent examples are the nanosatellite project of the University of Nairobi, and another satellite project by the University of Malaysia. All of this has brought into focus the need for regulations and safety protocols, and UNOOSA is actively engaged in finding solutions.”

Professor Michèle Lavagna, professor in flight mechanics at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, had stressed that effective space exploration could go a long way in managing our planet better and solving some of its problems.

“We need to find ways to manage, control or destroy them, and technologies are being developed for that purpose. We’ve been generating space debris for 60 years, and it could take up to 130 years to restore normalcy,” she averred.

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