DubaiSat-1, which will be launched in 2008, aims to position the Emirates among the advanced nations in the world in science and technology development through the application of global best practices and cooperation with the world’s leading experts in the field. EIAST has already created a number of international agreements to collaborate with international industrial and research bodies in joint projects.
Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of EIAST, said: ‘as the UAE continues to develop on all accounts, there is a definite need for an accurate multipurpose information system. DubaiSat-1 will support the infrastructural development by providing information that is central for the decision making process affecting the urban and rural planning as well as transport, utilities, and mapping, in addition to environmental applications such as monitoring pollution and detecting oil spills.
‘DubaiSat-1 will also help manage natural disasters and promote research and development, space science and other scientific disciplines.
This pioneering satellite project consists of three phases over a three-year period. The first phase started in 2006 and saw the institution develop the strategies, budget, administrative structure, and the necessary staff. In fact, a group of young specialized and internationally experienced national engineers were selected to train and work in internationally reputed Satrec Initiative where they take part in the design and production of the satellite. The team will also be involved in the management of the various educational centers including the Earth Observation Centre (EOC) and the Spatial Information Centre (SIC).
Salem Al Marri, Acting Project Manager, DubaiSat-1 said: ‘the national team is currently positioned in South Korean-based company, Satrec Initiative, which provides the most effective and integrated solutions for earth observation missions and applications. EIAST agreement with Satrec Initiative is essentially related to the company’s long standing as a specialist in the production of small satellite solutions and technology transfer which in turn support scientific research’.
EIAST officials mentioned that the second phase covering this year includes the design and development of the prototypes for the equipment and tools of the satellite, and mounting them on the satellite on an experimental basis, and contracting the launching company, Moscow-based International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras. Al Mansoori confirmed that EIAST has selected the Russian company based on its technological capacities and the convenience of the time slot offered which coincides with the institution’s set deadline. During this phase and by the end of 2007, EIAST aims at completing the setting up of the earth station.
The last phase next year will cover the final testing of the satellite with all its equipment and specifications in actual space conditions and its performance as an integrated system. This will be followed by the actual launch of the satellite in the space in 2008.
DubaiSat-1 will be of crucial significance for the education in the UAE as it will strengthen scientific research on an unprecedented scale. The Graduate Institute for Scientific Research (GISR), a futuristic affiliate of the institution, will initiate specialized educational and training programs.