India: The UAE’s nanosatellite, Nayif-1, is set for launch into space between February 14 and 25 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, it was announced on Wednesday. The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch record 104 satellites on this month, that also include the nanosatellite.
The Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) said Nayif-1 is expected to be launched in the morning of February 15 if all logistics are intact and ideal weather conditions prevail, to ensure a successful launch into space on board the PSLV-C37 rocket.
Currently, a team of specialists at MBRSC and AUS are working to ascertain the readiness of the ground station located at the university, from which the satellite will be operated and controlled after its launch.
The nanosatellite’s main mission will be to send and receive messages on Amateur Radio frequencies, MBRC said, noting that Nayif-1 boasts of a number of advanced features, most notably, it is programmed to transfer messages in Arabic.
Developed by Emirati engineering graduates from AUS under the supervision of a team of engineers and specialists from MBRSC, Nayif-1 also holds an Active Control System Board that has not been launched into space before.
Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director-General of MBRSC, said the educational CubeSat project, Nayif-1, represents an important step that is in line with the MBRSC strategy aiming to building national human capacities in the UAE universities and providing training on satellite manufacturing technology.
“This kind of space project is of a high priority for government and educational institutions worldwide, because it provides extensive knowledge to researchers, as well as the basics of satellite manufacturing and space system testing. Over the past two years, we began to establish CubeSat manufacturing technology in the UAE, to be used in environmental and development-related fields which are of interest to the community,” he said.
Al Shaibani said that four of the students that worked on Nayif-1 have been selected to join the MBRSC team to work on the Emirates Mars Mission — Hope — and KhalifaSat project.
He added that centre’s future focus is on training other students on how to manage and operate the ground station, communicate with the satellite to transmit and receive messages, as well as use data in new scientific experiments, such as studying the motion of the satellite in space.
“The centre aspires to building a sustainable future for the satellite industry in the UAE, and we count on our youth to provide solutions and innovations that are conducive to sector growth, and lead to gaining a competitive edge worldwide,” he said.
Nayif-1 has been tested on ground and has successfully passed all tests on its subsystems, such as the power and control subsystems, satellite antenna and communication subsystem. These tests have been followed by the full system environmental tests, including thermal and vibration tests.