Saudi Arabia – Prince Dr Turki Bin Saud Al Saud, Vice President of the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for Space Research Institute, announced that the Saudi satellites will be ready to carry out research in space by the end of 2010 or in the beginning of 2011.
He made the remarks in a press briefing after signing an agreement with the US Stanford University to establish a Riyadh-based joint centre for space and aviation technology.
Prince Turki said that the agreement involves implementing three projects, the first of which will be bilateral cooperation in analysing information concerned with the satellite, which was launched by Saudi Arabia in 2004, and sending a team from KACST to the university next year for the purpose.
The second project is to carry out designing the experiment of launching a satellite for laser testing of ultraviolet rays that could be utilised for future experiments, while the third project is for developing equipment for controlling a satellite.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia has successfully launched six satellites into orbit from the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan on a Russian-Ukrainian missile last year. The launch brings the total number of Saudi satellites in orbit to 12. Most of them are used for communications.
Prince Turki said the satellites, including one called Saudi Sat 3 are meant for remote sensing and five smaller ones known as comsat meant for communications and exchange of data.
“Saudi Arabia’s policy towards science and technology is solid and it is committed to using space technology for peaceful purposes and development,” he said adding that the Kingdom was keen to develop space technology to meet domestic requirements in various fields.
Saudi Arabia launched its first two communication satellites Saudi Sat A and B in September 2000 and they were followed by Saudi Sat AG in December 2002 and the third one in June 2004.