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UAE’s Khalifasat Earth Observation Satellite Will Be Launched From Japan By End Of 2018

MBRSC engineers next to the KhalifaSat Earth observation satellite in an MBRSC clean room facility in Dubai. Photograph courtesy of WAM.

Prelaunch preparations are underway to ready KhalifaSat for launch into orbit before the end of the year from a launch facility in Japan aboard a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) H-IIA satellite launch vehicle, according to the Director-General of the UAE Space Agency. Khalifasat is the first satellite to be wholly built by Emirati engineers in the UAE.

”The UAE Space Agency is planning to launch another satellite dedicated for educational and research purposes in the coming few months,” Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, said in an interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM.

According to Al Ahbabi, when these launches are completed, the UAE will have ten multi-purpose satellites, raising the UAE investment in the space sector to 22 billion Dirhams (U.S.$6 billion).

“KhalifaSat marks a critical milestone in the nature and form of the UAE’s investment in the space industry. KhalifaSat is a source of inspiration for Emirati generations because it is the first satellite to be fully manufactured in the UAE. It is considered one of the first productions of the advanced technology industry in the UAE. This satellite was designed and manufactured by a large team of qualified Emirati engineers. KhalifaSat will usher the UAE into the space manufacturing sector,” he said.

It is intended that KhalifaSat will provide high-resolution satellite imagery for a variety of uses. The images will meet the needs of government departments and private enterprises in the UAE and abroad.

”KhalifaSat clearly indicates how the UAE leadership thoroughly plans and looks at the space sector as one of the most promising industries in the future,” said Dr. Al Ahbabi.

In the interview with WAM, Dr. Al Ahbabi added that the UAE is aspiring to become a regional centre for space science and technology by forging partnerships with other space agencies abroad.

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