Abu Dhabi: DubaiSat 1, the UAE’s first remote sensing/Earth Observation satellite, is all set to launch, a senior official said on Sunday.
“The UAE’s first earth observation satellite, developed by South Korea’s SatrecI with in-depth participation of UAE engineers from the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) and is “space ready” and will be launch-ed shortly, Salem Humaid Al Merri, acting project manager of DubaiSat 1 Programme told Gulf News on Sunday.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Global Space Technology Forum, opened by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Al Merri explained that the satellite was completed last July and is on standby, waiting for launch aboard a Russian rocket through the Moscow-based International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras, “providing the UAE with its first dedicated eye in the sky.”
“While DubaiSat-1 awaits its launch into space, its development team is already working on finalising designs for DubaiSat-2, which will be launched within five years and will continue with its plans to create the UAE’s first constellation of Satellites with growing UAE’s technical participation.”
Al Merri said the design concept of DubaiSat-2 is being laid down and strategic partners for its construction are being selected, to make it the top of its class by the time of its planned launch in 2013.
Established by a Dubai Government decree in 2006 to promote the country’s move to develop a knowledge-based economy, EIAST continues to be a springboard for promoting sustainable development and enhancing econ-omic growth in the Emirates and beyond by inspiring scientific innovation and fostering technological advancement.
Al Merri said developing a base of UAE scientists and engineers is a crucial first step in becoming a regional and global leader in the fields of advanced science and technology.
He added that the satellite will contribute in developing infrastructure by providing data that help decision makers in many areas, including planning service projects, rural and urban projects, provision of accurate maps, monitoring of pollution and discovery of oil slicks, crisis management, scientific researches and space sciences.
Professor Anwar S. Dawood, former EIAST dean of scientific and technological affairs and member of the board of directors, told Gulf News the UAE should have a federal space agency that will host the development of space strategic plan for the country, and coordinate different space activities as related to satellites, communications, earth observation and navigation.
“The UAE is in a position to take a lead in the Gulf and the Middle East in space technology, to fill a huge market demand for a variety of civil and military applications,” he said.
Innovation: Technology a priority
The UAE is strongly committed to harnessing the benefits of technology, Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said on Sunday.
“Our capital city, Abu Dhabi, is emerging as a major centre for aviation and aerospace innovation and industry. President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has identified innovation as a fundamental aspect of our national effort. And we have created an economic environment that supports business initiatives and entrepreneurship,” the minister said.