The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC), the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and NGC Aerospace, have signed a collaboration agreement and initiated the joint development of the flight software for a HyperSpectral Earth-observation satellite.
This long-term collaboration, announced on 13 February 2020, will provide the NSSTC and the UAEU with the capability to develop the navigation, guidance, and control system enabling the high autonomy and agility of satellites based on innovative technologies that NGC has developed over the last 18 years.
This three-year project will be followed by a five-year collaboration period during which new projects may be initiated to support future space ambitions of the UAE. The first phase of this co-development has just started with a two-week collocation of three NGC engineers in Al Ain, UAE. This collaboration creates work for three highly-qualified persons at NGC for its full duration.
“NGC is more than happy to be working with the NSSTC and the UAEU. With its Earth and planetary exploration missions, the United Arab Emirates is becoming a major contributor to the advancement of space science and engineering for peaceful uses and we are thrilled to be part of it.” says Jean de Lafontaine, CEO. “This project is motivating for NGC employees and makes Canada shine beyond its borders.”
Back in May 2018, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the UAE Space Agency had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aiming at facilitating collaboration for the peaceful use and exploration of space. This was followed by a CSA-led mission to the 2019 Global Space Congress in the UAE, in which NGC participated and benefited from the good relations developed by CSA with the UAE’s space sector. The novel agreement between NGC Aerospace and the two UAE entities is the first space collaboration project between the two countries since the signature of the MOU.
This project has been made possible for NGC thanks to the Canadian dollars invested by the CSA in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth-observation programmes. Indeed, NGC’s credibility in delivering space-qualified flight software has been made possible through a series of ESA satellite projects which Canada supported throughout the years and still continues to support.