UAE to launch new satellites developed by students

KhalifaSat, UAE Space Agency

The UAE Space Agency and Exolaunch have announced a joint agreement to launch MeznSat into orbit by the end of this year.

The agreement was signed during the recent Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi.

MeznSat was developed by students from the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) and Khalifa University. The satellite will operate using a shortwave infrared spectrometer to measure the abundance and distribution of methane and carbon dioxide in UAE’s atmosphere.

A team of students will monitor, process, and analyse the data sent from the satellite at a ground station in YahSat Labs in Khalifa University.

Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said, “The MeznSat project falls within the framework of the UAE Space Agency’s strategy, which aims to develop Emirati capacities and expertise and support scientific research. The satellite will play a key role in studying the Earth’s atmosphere and providing high-quality data which will help to address the many challenges facing our planet. It’s a privilege to arrange launch services for the MeznSat mission and support the growth of the UAE’s small satellite industry,” said Jeanne Medvedeva, Launch Services Commercial Director at Exolaunch.

He noted that the firm’s wide experience in cubesat launches will ensure the success of this important milestone. “As the project also aims at developing competencies in a University setting, our educational background will lead the students through the whole process of a launch arrangement so they will be able to apply these skills in the future,” he said.

Eng. Abdulla Al Marar, Head of Space Projects in the UAE Space Agency, said, “During the upcoming months we will assemble the satellite and then conduct comprehensive tests in a simulated space environment to ensure that MeznSat will operate efficiently once it is in orbit above Earth. It is crucial that we test the satellite prior to its launch at the end of this year.”

According to Eng. Al Marar, MeznSat will join the outstanding collection of satellites developed, owned and operated by the UAE for a breadth of purposes, ranging from remote sensing and Earth observation to communications and navigation, collectively showcasing the UAE’s position and leadership within the space industry.

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