Cairo, Egypt, 15 January 2007 – In an effort to gain a foothold in space research and also strengthen its intelligence gathering capacity, Egypt is planning to launch its first remote sensing satellite tomorrow (January 16) from Kazakhstan. The Egyptsat 1, which weighs just under 100 kilograms, will circle the Earth at an altitude of 668 km.
Egyptsat 1 will carry two remote sensing devices — an infrared one and a multi-spectrum one. Using its high-powered multi-spectrum telescopic camera, it will be capable of transmitting black-and-white, colour and infrared images. The camera can spot objects on the ground as small as four meters across.
The Egyptstat satellite, jointly built by Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences in collaboration with Ukraine, will be carried by a Dnepr rocket together with 12 light-weight Saudi Arabian satellites. Egypt hopes to launch another satellite – called Desertstat – by the end of this year, currently under construction in Italy.
Egyptsat-1 will be the country’s first satellite for scientific research. Egypt has already launched a number of satellites for nonscientific purposes. Nilesat 101 was launched in 1998 and Nilesat 102 in 2000. These satellites are now delivering more than 150 digital television channels as well as radio and multimedia services to more than several million homes over North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco to the Gulf region.