First UAE research satellite being built

First UAE research satellite being built

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Dubai, UAE, September 17,2007: Dubaisat-1 is expected to blast off into space by the end of next year, the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology [EIAST] announced recently. It will be UAE’s first research satellite and is expected to be used for civilian purposes and contribute to scientific research for local, regional and international entities.

Ahmad Obaid Al Mansouri, Director General of EIAST, said that the satellite could be used for commercial purposes in the future, adding that more information about the services it will offer will be made at a later stage.

“Dubaisat-1 will also help manage natural disasters and promote research and development, space science and other scientific disciplines,” he said, adding that the use of advanced technologies will assist in urban and rural development as well as planning for sectors such as utilities and transport.

A complementing Graduate Institute for Scientific Research satellite is also expected to be launched in the future, which will initiate specialised educational and training programmes. The satellite project consists of three phases over a three-year period.

In the first phase eight Emirati engineers were sent to train and gain field experience at the Satrec Initiative in South Korea, where they took part in the design and production of the satellite. The current phase includes the design and development of the prototypes for the equipment and tools that will be mounted on the satellite.

Salem Humaid Al Merri, acting project manager at EIAST, said that the remote sensing satellite, used for imaging purposes, could also assist in rescue as well as relief operations in disaster zones. “There is also going to be a ground station in Dubai for communication with the satellite,” Al Merri added.

The satellite will be launched in the fourth quarter of next year by the Moscow-based International Space Company (ISC), Kosmotras. The ground station is expected be set up by the end of this year. The last phase, next year, will include the final testing of the satellite in actual space conditions before its launch.