x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE's first satellite 'ready to launch'

The Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology says the Dubai Sat-1 is due to be sent in to orbit by the end of the year.

DUBAI // The UAE's first satellite has been completed and is ready to launch, the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) has announced. Dubai Sat-1, which is due to be sent in to orbit by the end of the year, will provide the UAE with a dedicated "eye in the sky" that will help with urban planning and environmental monitoring. A team of UAE engineers have been involved in the construction of the satellite in South Korea, and the skills they have learnt during the project will be used to carry the UAE's space programme in to the future, according to Ahmed Obaid al Mansoori, the director general of EIAST. "Developing a base of UAE scientists and engineers is a crucial first step in becoming a regional and global leader in the fields of advanced science and technology," he said. "This achievement is just a stepping stone in the many plans EIAST has for the future, including work in nano-technology, alternative energy and astronomy". Salam al Marri, the Dubai Sat-1 project manager at EIAST, said it had not yet been decided whether the images collected by the satellite would be made commercially available for use by private companies, but said the scientific data it collected would help with future space projects. "One of the instruments on board is a monitor that will collect data on how much space radiation there is in the Dubai Sat-1 orbit," he said. "Future satellite projects will be able to use that data to determine how much radiation shielding they require to protect the instruments on board, which [has implications for] the weight and cost." Speaking at the Middle East's first conference on the use of surveillance satellites, held in Dubai in April, Staff Brig Khalifa Mohammed Thani al Rumaithy, of the UAE Armed Forces General Head Quarters, said it was essential for the country to expand in to space. "[Dubai Sat-1] will provide the UAE with data that will be vital to the nation, particularly in the areas of infrastructure development, urban planning, managing disasters, rural development and transport," he said. "The availability of an inexpensive, high-performance imaging satellite is enabling the UAE to acquire an independent remote sensing capability that will be of great benefit to the nation." Dubai Sat-1 will be launched by the Russian space company Kosmotras. The EIAST is already working on designs for a second satellite, named Dubai Sat-2, which it intends to launch in 2012. gmcclenaghan@thenational.ae