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UAE’s MBRSC Conducts Pre-Launch Tests On KhalifaSat At Japan’s Tanegashima

The MBRSC team in front of KhalifaSat at the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. Photograph courtesy of WAM.

A team from the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has successfully completed pre-launch tests in Japan of the Earth observation system KhalifaSat, the first satellite to be entirely built in the UAE by Emirati engineers.

KhalifaSat has been successfully installed into its launch vehicle, H-IIA, and it is awaiting launch on 29 October 2018 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. MBRSC is partnering with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for this mission.

Technical safety tests included a functional verification test to confirm sub-system functions, battery safety testing, and other related tests. MHI tries providing the team with all the necessary facilities to carry out these tests.

“Conducting the technical tests on KhalifaSat is an important step in preparation for its launch,” said Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director-General of MBRSC, “The launch centre was selected because it is the largest rocket launch complex in Japan … its facilities offer state-of-the-art operations in spacecraft assembly, maintenance, final testing of satellites, installing spacecraft, follow-up after installation, and tracking of spacecraft after take-off.”

“Conducting the technical tests on KhalifaSat at Tanegashima Space Centre on schedule reflects the success of MBRSC’s plan to launch it on 29th October,” said Amer Al Sayegh, KhalifaSat Project Manager at MBRSC. “It also shows the high level of professionalism of the 70 male and female Emirati engineers working on this huge project.”

Once deployed into a low-Earth orbit, KhalifaSat will capture and deliver high-quality detailed images of Earth to the ground station at MBRSC in Dubai. This service will assist government organisations and private sector enterprises all over the world.

Weighing just 330 kg., KhalifaSat contains an advanced positioning system allowing a large number of 3D images to be captured at once, with excellent accuracy and speed. The images can then be used to detect the effects of climate change, ensure responsible urban planning and management, and aid relief efforts for natural disasters.

KhalifaSat has a planned mission life of five years.

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