UAE's first nanosatellite is ready for take-off

Published June 28th, 2016 - 10:00 GMT
The satellite programme is part of the UAE's far-reaching ambitions in space and outer atmosphere. (Khaleej Times)
The satellite programme is part of the UAE's far-reaching ambitions in space and outer atmosphere. (Khaleej Times)

The UAE's first Nanosatellite, Nayif1, to be launched for educational purposes, is ready to be sent into orbit in 2016.

Ibrahim Al Qasim, project manager of Nayif-1 at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), said that it's scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of the year. The satellite, which has successfully passed all its tests and stages, will be launched into space on the Falcon 9 Rocket by SpaceX.

As Nayif-1 is a Nanosatellite and a non-primary payload, the launch date will be decided by the launching provider.

The satellite programme is part of the UAE's far-reaching ambitions in space and outer atmosphere.

In March this year, Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, said that the country will put four commercial, communication and governmental satellites in space by 2020, apart from eight CAN or Cube satellites for educational purposes.

Nayif1 was developed by Emirati engineering students from American University of Sharjah (AUS), under supervision by engineers and specialists from MBRSC, who designed it. "Nayif-1 went through several stages. once our designs were finalised and verified, we moved into assembly, integration and testing of the satellite flight model, and readiness for launch," Al Qasim said.

"The installation of the ground station was completed at AUS, which will operate and control the satellite throughout its journey in space," Al Qasim confirmed.

'Satellite will transmit in Arabic'

"Nayif-1 is characterised with a number of advanced features, most notably that it's programmed to transfer messages in Arabic. It also contains an active control system. usually satellites with a 10x10x10 cm unit size use a passive control system. The control system works accurately to determine the satellite's position and direction in space in order to maintain its balance attitude during operations," Al Qasim concluded.

In the post-oil economy, programs to achieve educational goals in the science and technology sectors, are part of UAE's plans and strategies, added Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General, MBRSC.

"The Emirati university students possess the required skills and capabilities to design and build a cubesat as a result of a knowledge transfer strategy and cooperation between academic and professional institutions that are launching real space projects, enabling students to see the product of their work as a reality in space," Al Shaibani said.

By Haseeb Haider


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