Friday, July 31, 2009

DubaiSat-1 soars into space

The Gulf Today, 31 July 2009

Literally reaching for the sky, the UAE added one more feather to its cap when the first earth observation satellite of the country successfully blasted off into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome space centre in Kazakhstan at 4.30 pm local time on Wednesday.
DubaiSat-1 has achieved optimal position in orbit around the earth and has successfully connected with the ground observation station in Dubai being ready for operation, announced the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST).
According to the EIAST, the satellite was launched into space from the Kazakhstan's Baikonur launch pad under the supervision of UAE engineers and scientists, who are responsible for more than a third of the project's implementation. The satellite orbits 14 cycles daily around the earth, 680km above the planet.
DubaiSat-1 was shot out into the orbit by Russian launcher Dnepr, along with five other satellites, including Britain's Deimos 1 and UK-DMC 2, Spain's Nanosat 1B, AprizeSat 4 and AprizeSat 3.
"The UAE engineers and scientists at the Dubai earth observation station were able to stabilise DubaiSat-1 in its 680km orbit at 3:30am local time after the satellite completed two successful orbits of the earth," EIAST has confirmed.
Ahmed Al Mansoori, Director General of EIAST, said, "The team has also remotely deployed the satellite's solar panels, which will power DubaiSat-1 for the next five years. The earth observation team is now working on DubaiSat-1's calibration and data transfer processes before the satellite becomes fully operational."
"DubaiSat-1 is the first remote sensing satellite developed by a UAE entity, in association with the Satrec initiative based in South Korea. The satellite, an authentic addition to the UAE's strategic accomplishments, now carries the UAE's flag into space. The successful launch of the DubaiSat-1 can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the nation's engineers and scientists," he added.
"The Wednesday launch marks the first time the UAE flag, emblazoned on a panel of the satellite, is in outer space. The achievement will pave the way for additional space projects highlighting the UAE's significant leadership in space technology research," said chief of the EIAST.
According to him, the DubaiSat-1 is a stepping stone in the UAE's attempt to create a sound infrastructure that enables the collection of space and earth observation data to power the comprehensive development of the nation. Observers and analysts described the launch of DubaiSat-1 as a significant achievement for the UAE.
"The satellite is an embodiment of the UAE's efforts in enhancing knowledge and technological development, and embracing the latest achievements to position the nation as the regional hub of the knowledge economy," they said.
According to them, the moon landing was a huge leap for humanity, while DubaiSat-1 is a huge leap for the UAE's science and technology initiatives, and for the nation's aspirations.
Mansouri pointed out that the launch of DubaiSat-1 consists of two segments, including space and ground. The space segment comprises the development, design and manufacture of satellite equipment and components of the measurement and imaging.
"Meanwhile, the ground segment includes the mission control station, image receiving and processing station, antenna and RF sub-system. Images from the satellite can be used for a variety of applications from urban development, scientific research, telecommunications and transportation to civil engineering, constructions, mapping and GIS," he explained.
EIAST will play an instrumental role in creating a knowledge-based economy, and promoting the culture of advanced scientific research and technology innovation in Dubai and the UAE. The institute will also develop an internationally competitive base for human skills development.

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