UAE-Bahraini nanosatellite to take off for International Space Station on Tuesday

Named Light-I, the nanosatellite will explore cosmic gamma-ray flashes


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File photo used for illustrative purpose
File photo used for illustrative purpose

Published: Sun 19 Dec 2021, 9:56 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Dec 2021, 10:47 PM

Marking a major milestone of cooperation in space science, a joint UAE-Bahrain nanosatellite named ‘Light-I’ will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) soon.

‘Light-1’ will take off take off onboard a SpaceX CRS-24 flight on board a Falcon 9 rocket on December 21. It is set to explore cosmic gamma-ray flashes (high-energy discharges of photons).

For this, the nanosatellite has undergone rigorous safety and environmental tests for thermal and vibration and communication systems.

It will get deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module (KIBO) in the ISS into orbit under supervision from the Japanese Aerospace Space Agency (JAXA).

The nanosatellite was built and designed in collaboration between the UAE Space Agency and Bahrain's National Space Science Agency (NSSA).

The research spacecraft was developed by leading Bahraini and Emirati engineers and scientists working from laboratories in the UAE. The team is made up of 23 students, including nine Bahrainis and 14 Emiratis from Khalifa University and NYU Abu Dhabi.

How does this nanosatellite work?

  • Light-1 is a nanosatellite, but it is no different from other larger satellites as far as the technical expertise required to build or launch it.
  • It is also a cube satellite that consists of three units and is often referred to as a 3U CubeSat.
  • After reaching its orbit around Earth, Light-1 will monitor and study terrestrial gamma ray flashes (TGRs) from thunderstorms and cumulus clouds.
  • TRG analysis is an emerging field of geoscientific research and will be the first study of its kinds in the region.
  • New York University will be leading the science data analysis aspect for this mission.


  • Light-1’s name was inspired by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain’s book, The First Light.
  • It recounts key points in Bahrain's history and the name symbolizes the country’s growth and scientific progress.
  • It is a testament to the bilateral ties between Bahrain and the UAE, underlining the social, economic, and scientific cooperation between both countries.

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