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First UAE satellite will launch into space in less than a month

The UAE is about to make history for the GCC. There are 28 days left for the launch of the first satellite developed entirely in the UAE by Emirati engineers.

KhalifaSat, the first UAE-developed satellite

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) held a meeting, headed by Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC, to discuss the latest developments in the launch of KhalifaSat. KhalifaSat is the first satellite developed 100% in the UAE by a team of highly qualified Emirati engineers, to be launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center into orbit, aboard the H-IIA rocket, on 29 October 2018. The meeting was held in the presence of His Excellency Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of the MBRSC, Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs at MBRSC, as well as managers, heads, and engineers working at MBRSC.

Al Mansoori congratulated the attendees on the achievement, saying “We are proud of this turning point in our journey in space exploration. This stage proves our ability to independently manufacture satellites,  due to the efforts guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to achieve the UAE Centennial 2071, an ambitious outlook for the future. The UAE Centennial 2071 focuses on innovation, technology, and involving Emirati youth and preparing them to lead the process of comprehensive and sustainable development, we will always believe in our youth”.

Al Shaibani said yesterday, “Only 29 days are left to release the dream of launching KhalifaSat. By launching KhalifaSat according to the highest international standards, we reposition the UAE among the leading countries in manufacturing satellites, especially Earth observation satellites and satellites providing data and information to improve quality of life.”

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MBRSC had previously announced that 29 October, 2018 is the official date for the launch of its third satellite, KhalifaSat, into orbit aboard the H-IIA rocket at the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan for a planned mission life of five years. For this, MBRSC is partnering with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Aside from KhalifaSat, the MBRSC has two imaging satellites already in orbit: DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2.

Khalifa Sat is an iconic Emirati-engineered Earth observation satellite, with five patents to its name. The implementation phase began following the announcement of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on the launch of the KhalifaSat project in December 2013. The sophisticated space machine was designed, tested and built by Emirati engineers at the MBRSC’s Advanced Technology Laboratories.

Once deployed into a Low Earth Orbit (about 613 km up), it will capture and deliver high-quality detailed images of Earth to the ground station at MBRSC, Dubai. This service will assist government organisations and private sector enterprises all over the world. KhalifaSat weighs in at just 330 kg. It contains an advanced positioning system that allows a large number of 3D images to be captured at once, with excellent accuracy and speed. The images will be used to detect the environmental changes, ensure responsible urban planning and management, and aid relief efforts for natural disasters. KhalifaSat has a planned mission life of five years.

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The UAE goes all-in for the space race

Last month, the Gulf nation announced the names of the first-ever Emirati astronauts. The duo represents the first half of a proposed 4 astronauts. Hazza al-Mansouri, 34, and 37-year-old Sultan al-Neyadi, were selected following a rigorous six-stage vetting procedure, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports. They are both in Russia currently, training.

The UAE has its sights set on space with a programme worth 20 billion dirhams ($5.4 billion), according to Sheikh Mohammed.

“Hazza and Sultan represent a new stage for the UAE youth and raise the aspirations of new generations after them,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted at the time. “Our dreams embrace space and we are proud of our youth, and our future is based on a solid scientific foundation.”

Last week, the MBRSC announced that the first Emirati astronaut will be sent to the International Space Station on April 5, 2019, and will return on April 16, 11 days later. 

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