x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Scientists finish tests on UAE's first satellite

The Dh184 million project DubaiSat-1 is set for lift-off from Kazakhstan on July 25.

Engineers and scientists have finished tests and safety checks on DubaiSat-1, ahead of the July 25 launch date of the UAE's first government satellite. The team from the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science & Technology is now preparing to ship the satellite from its factory in South Korea to its launch base in Kazakhstan, WAM, the government news agency, reported.

It will be launched from the Central Asian country on a Russian Dnepr rocket. "The successful completion of the final stages of DubaiSat-1 by the team of UAE national experts, including engineers and specialists working on the project, have underscored the reputation of the UAE as a key player in space research," said Ahmed al Mansoori, the director general and vice chairman of the institution's board of directors.

"We are glad that our youth is part of space technology research, a testament to the tremendous talent among UAE youngsters." The project, costing almost Dh184 million (US$50m), was scheduled for lift-off in the fourth quarter of last year but had its launch date pushed back by a number of administrative and logistical delays. The 200kg satellite was completed in July after two years' work by a team of South Korean and Emirati engineers.

The engineers also built a ground station to monitor and manage the satellite, as well as an image-receiving station and a processing centre. The satellite will deliver high-resolution images for a number of applications, including urban development, transportation, mapping and disaster management. Scientists will focus on forecasting fog formation, and will use pictures from the satellite to predict sandstorms, the quality of water in the Gulf region, especially the effect of waste distillation on the environment and marine life, and ways to improve the clarity of satellite pictures.

Communications satellites have been launched by UAE companies before, but DubaiSat-1 will be the first government satellite to be sent into orbit. Work has begun on another satellite, DubaiSat-2, which is expected to be launched within two years. There are also plans for a DubaiSat-3.
mchung@thenational.ae