Dubai - KhalifaSat is set to be the most advanced Earth observation satellite for the UAE.
By Sarwat Nasir
Published: Mon 29 Oct 2018, 5:55 PM
Last updated: Tue 30 Oct 2018, 4:41 PM
It's proud and historic moment for the UAE as its first 100 per cent Emirati-made satellite, KhalifaSat, has lifted off into space from Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.
Fatherly moments displayed by H.E. Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre with Abdulla Harmoul, KhalifaSat Launch Manager after the successful launch of #KhalifaSATpic.twitter.com/Sx5hzS83Uc - MBR Space Centre (@MBRSpaceCentre) October 29, 2018
The launch of the Earth observation satellite took place on October 29, at 8.08am UAE-time onboard the H2-A rocket, which was also carrying Japan's environment satellite, GoSat-2, along with KhalifaSat.
The launch was broadcast live on the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre's (MBRSC) website and it showed that GoSat-2 was successfully separated from the rocket and reached the orbit at 8.25am. However, the separation of KhalifaSat and its arrival on its desired orbit destination happened in 100 minutes from 8.25am, according to the live stream. A team of 70 Emirati engineers from MBRSC built KhalifaSat, which will be the third satellite the centre has launched into space. DubaiSat1 was launched in 2009 and DubaiSat2 in 2013. Commercial and communication satellites by the UAE - YahSat-1,2 and Thuraya 1,2,3 - have also been launched before. However, KhalifaSat is set to be the most advanced Earth observation satellite for the UAE as it will take high-quality images. Timeline of the launch(UAE time) 9.53 am: Tanegashima Space Centre says they are about to send footage from cameras on the launch vehicle 9.49am: KhalifaSat's insertion into orbit successful KhalifaSat separates from the rocket. The satellite reaches orbit at 613km above Earth's surface 9.35am: The H2-A No 40 flight proceeds beyond the tracking range. The Tanageshma Space Center team stands by to acquire signals from the launch vehicle 8.25am:KhalifaSat to separate and insert into orbit in 100minutes 8.25 am: GoSat-2 successfully separates from the rocket and has inserted into orbit 8.23 am: The rocket's second stage separates from the main rocket 8.21 am: The flight status is normal as rocket has 570km, travelling at a velocity of 5.3km/sec 8.16 am: The rocket reaches 390km above Earth's surface. Trajectory remains normal. 8.13 am: The first engine is cut off and separation to occur at 6 minutes and 46 seconds, followed by ignition of Engine 2 to place GoSat-2 at its desired orbit. Engine 2 to cut off at 15 minutes into flight. 8.06 am: T-2 minutes to liftoff 8.08am: KhalifaSat blasts off into space onboard the H2-A rocket from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. Japan's environment satellite GoSat-2 is also onboard. The rocket will accelerate for 4 minutes and 20 seconds before initial separation. KhalifaSat is a top trend on Twitter in the UAE with more than 2,500 tweets in English and over 15,000 Arabic tweets in just within the first hour of the launch. Millions of viewers were expected to tune in to the live stream on MBRSC's website and it seems their website started crashing as server stopped responding for a while during the launch. However, the live stream on their YouTube channel is working smoothly. KhalifaSat is the most advanced Earth observation satellite a team of Emirati engineers have ever developed.
However, they will be offered free of charge if they are requested for humanitarian causes. The satellite will also monitor environmental changes locally and internationally to support global efforts to preserve the environment. It is expected to provide detailed imagery of the ice caps at the North and South Poles, helping to detect the effects of global warming.
The director of the space systems development department and the project manager of KhalifaSat at the MBRSC, Amer Al Sayegh, told Khaleej Times: "The event will be live-streamed and we are encouraging everyone to watch it as this will be an important part of the country's history. This is a very proud moment for us at the MBRSC and as UAE nationals. It's a huge step forward for our space industry." A team of 70 Emirati engineers helped develop the satellite and 10 of them are in Japan to ensure a successful launch. Al Sayegh revealed that some of the engineers would spend all of tonight (the night of October 28 and the early hours of October 29) in a bunker right next to KhalifaSat. This is so they can do regular checks and ensure the satellite remains ready for liftoff. About an hour or two before the launch, a few of the engineers will head inside the control room to be with the Japanese team. In Dubai, some of the engineers will head to the MBRSC's control room several hours prior to the launch to start tracking the progress leading up to the main event. Mohammed Alabbar, the head of the electrical power unit at the MBRSC, is one of the many engineers that worked on KhalifaSat. He will be at MBRSC's control room four hours ahead of the launch. "It will be a stressful night for all of us, but a very exciting one. We are confident," Alabbar said.
LIVE STREAM: WHAT, WHERE & WHEN
>What: The launch of KhalifaSat, the first satellite that the UAE has ever developed >Where: Log on to mbrsc.ae/khalifasat >When: 8am, October 29 firstname.lastname@example.org