The first satellite to be indigenously built by Emirati engineers is nearing completion, and will be launched by Japan later this year.
KhalifaSat, an Earth observation satellite that is being built by the Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), was inspected by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, during a visit to the MBRSC facilities on 3 February, 2018.
Sheikh Mohammed met with engineers, scientists, and other staff members at MBRSC, and was briefed on KhalifaSat’s capabilities and features.
Once launched, KhalifaSat will be the third observation satellite to be operated by MBRSC, alongside DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, both built be MBRSC engineers with the assistance of South Korean Earth observation satellite manufacturer the Satrec Initiative.
KhalifaSat, on the other hand, is being built in Dubai entirely by Emirati engineers.
After his visit and briefing at MBRSC, Sheikh Mohammed said, “Emirati engineers are the first in the Arab world to construct a satellite without foreign assistance. This is a major achievement that signifies the high level of capabilities UAE youth have acquired in space technologies.”
“The high level of expertise that Emirati scientists and engineers have developed creates a strong foundation for the future scientific and technological development of the UAE,” he added.
“We are confident that the nation’s space industry sector will continue its strong growth, and emerge as a key component of our economy. The development of KhalifaSat is not only a source of pride for Emiratis and Arabs, but also a global achievement that will benefit humanity, and offer scientific solutions for development globally,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Once completed, KhalifatSat will be transported to Japan for launch in late 2018 on board a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) H-IIA space launch vehicle. It will be placed into low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 613 kilometers, and will feature 0.7 meter panchromatic resolution and 2.98 multispectral resolution imaging capabilities. The satellite imagery taken by KhalifaSat will be sold on the commercial market as well as used by the Government of Dubai and the Federal Government of the UAE.
The KhalifaSat programme was launched by Sheikh Mohammed in 2013 as a means to develop the human and technical capacity of the UAE in the space sector, and to assist in the continuing diversification of the UAE economy away from its reliance on oil.