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DubaiSat-3 to be indigenous: EIAST

Dubai, UAE: Scientists at the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) entered the planning stages for DubaiSat-3. It is scheduled to be launched in 2015 and will be built by Emiratis on home soil. The launch of DubaiSat-3 will mark the culmination of training for 22 Emirati engineers who have been based in South Korea since 2005, working on DubaiSat-1 and 2, The National reported.

It is pertinent to mention that DubaiSat-1 was launched in 2009 and DubaiSat-2 will be launched in 2012.

About DubaiSat-3 satellite, Salem Al Marri, the project manager of the space programme at Eiast, said, “DubaiSat-3 will weigh 300 kilograms. It will require only a large room and a crane to lift the machine. But a testing facility, which vigorously shakes a flight model of the satellite to simulate launch conditions, will be needed which will cost about USD10 million (Dh36.7m).”

According to the report, DubaiSat-1 was launched from a Soviet-era military base in Kazakhstan. It cost USD 50 million and took four years of work by Emirati engineers and those from the South Korean company Satrec1. The first satellite was based on a generic design and had a resolution of 2.5 metres per pixel. DubaiSat-2 has a resolution of 1 metre, making it able to pinpoint cars on streets or read logos on the side of aeroplanes parked on a runway. It will also travel faster than DubaiSat-1, covering 17,000 square metres a day rather than 12,000 metres.

Al Marri added that it is yet to be determined what upgrades DubaiSat-3 would have. “There will be an improvement, but not necessarily in terms of resolution,” he stated. “It could mean that we can store and download more images per day, with the same resolution or, it could mean that we could generate and store more power so the satellite lasts longer in space.”

The investment in satellite technology is part of an effort by the UAE government to diversify the economy away from oil. The government holds a large stake in Virgin Galactic, the commercial space flight firm, and this year Yahsat, the country’s first communications satellite, entered orbit.

Source: The National