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EIAST aiming high with its satellites

Dubai, UAE: The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) sees its satellites as a step towards its goal of being one of the world’s top space agencies within the next decade, observed a report published in The National. According to the report, Officials from EIAST spent the past two years forming partnerships with international organisations as the finishing touches are put to its satellite’s successor, DubaiSat-2, at a manufacturing plant in South Korea.
“One of the biggest accomplishments for us has been slowly building up a group here that will have the capability to develop our own technology, and right now, representing the UAE on a global forum,” said Salem Al Marri, the head of EIAST’s space programme.
Since the launch of DubaiSat-1 from Kazakhstan two years ago, the country’s first Earth observation satellite has been useful to international authorities for pinpointing damage after natural disasters, to local municipalities for monitoring coastal erosion and to researchers for gauging the effects of harmful algal blooms.
Earlier, during the devastating earthquake in Japan, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) requested the images from DubaiSat-1 satellite directly from the EIAST, as it struggled to piece together a clearer image of the disaster’s impact and a recovery plan.
In addition, EIAST is exchanging image data with the Thailand’s National Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency, and has collaborated with Japan’s space agency on a propulsion subsystem, the technology used to control the satellite’s spin in orbit.
As the EIAST expands its distribution base beyond Asia and South America, currently working on contracts in North America and the Middle East, the Institution also looked for opportunities to collect more data in a 24-hour period. An antenna in South Korea is expected to soon go online to retrieve and process data each time the satellite passes, doubling its capability. Another, in Svalbard, Norway, already makes 14 contacts every day. From its control centre in Dubai, Eiast collects data on two of the four occasions the satellite passes each day.
Al Marri stressed the importance of the images for local government departments in urban planning, coastal monitoring, and tracking the degree or thickness of fog, for instance.
Source: The National