UAE-Bahraini nanosatellite Light-1 launched successfully into orbit

The satellite to be used to conduct region’s first scientific mission to monitor and study thunderstorms and lightning.

By Wam

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Published: Thu 3 Feb 2022, 8:41 PM

The UAE-Bahraini nanosatellite Light-1 CubeSat was successfully launched into orbit from the International Space Station, in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Light-1 CubeSat is a collaboration initiative of the UAE Space Agency, Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi.

JAXA coordinated the launch from the Tsukuba Space Centre (TKSC) in Japan, and the event was broadcast live on social media channels. It was also live-streamed on Bahrain’s NSSA National TV and JAXA.

The Light-1 CubeSat represents the region’s first scientific mission to monitor and study Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) from thunderstorms and lightning.

Data gathered from the Light-1 CubeSat will be shared globally to support scientific analysis and encourage cooperation with research centres around the world.

The team that worked on the design and development of Light-1 bus consists of 22 university students from Khalifa University including nine Bahrainis, 10 Emiratis, and three international students, advised by Dr. Firas Jarrar, Manager, Yahsat Space Lab, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering.

The NYU Abu Dhabi team of five Emirati students and five international students was advised by Dr. Francesco Arneodo, Programme Head of Physics, and Dr. Mallory Roberts, Professor of Physics.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, said, "As this UAE-Bahraini nanosatellite reached its orbital position, we believe this collaboration initiative will stand out as the best example of what can be achieved by the scientists in the Arab world. We are happy to work with our brothers in Bahrain in scientific development that will not only benefit our countries but also the whole world and humanity. Also this is a great effort between local universities in the UAE."

Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi Mariët Westermann commented, "I would like to congratulate our incredible team of students and faculty at NYU Abu Dhabi on their contributions to this historic mission, particularly their work pertaining to the scientific payload."

Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, said, "The UAE has made massive strides in its space journey over the past few years, and the successful deployment of our Light-1 nanosatellite into orbit is a major milestone. We thank all our partners across the UAE, Bahrain, US and Japan for their support in making this mission possible."

Meanwhile, Dr. Mohamed Ebrahim Al-Aseeri, Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA), said, "I am pleased to raise the highest congratulations and sincere blessings to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, The King of Bahrain, and to His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates, on the occasion of the successful launch of the Bahrain-UAE Joint Satellite (Light 1) to its space orbit."

"We are very grateful to our brothers at Emirates Space Agency for the generous support, and good cooperation we have found throughout the implementation of this joint project," Dr. Al-Aseeri said.

Shiho Ogawa, Director of JEM Utilisation Centre for Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, JAXA, said, "The Light-1 team and JAXA have overcome all the problems they faced during development and realised the satellite deployment from Kibo. We are honoured to support the Light-1 project."

The impact of high-energy gamma-ray emissions on atmosphere, air traffic and human health, especially flight crews, will be studied by Light-1. These rays can penetrate aircraft structures, and therefore the data of Light-1 will improve understanding related to radiation exposure.

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