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Friday, July 30, 2010

Bird's eye view of the UAE to mark 1st year of DubaiSat-1 launch

By PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 29 July 2010

The brains behind the development of DubaiSat-1, the masterpiece techno advancement of the UAE, are celebrating today the first anniversary of the satellite’s successful launch.
The UAE’s first earth observation satellite blasted off into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome space centre in Kazakhstan at 4.30 pm local time on July 29 last year.
Developed by the scientists at the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), the DubaiSat1 has facilitated the UAE in planning and executing a wide variety of programmes with potential impacts.
According to the scientists, the moon landing was a huge leap for humanity, while DubaiSat-1 was a huge leap for the UAE's science and technology initiatives, and the nation's aspirations.
“It was the first chapter of a big successful story. It was the result of months of challenges, planning and dedication right up until the day of implementation, which was a wondrous success,” they remarked.
An official at the EIAST said that the satellite was the country’s own steps towards implementing solutions for environment-related issues such as detecting oil spills, monitoring land contamination, and meteorological applications like observation of fog, sand and dust storms.
In celebration of the first anniversary of the country’s first remote sensing satellite, the (EIAST) has released on Wednesday a mosaic image of the UAE.
Ahmed Al Mansoori, Director General of the EIAST, said that the image is a collection of over 40 scenes taken by DubaiSat-1 throughout the year.
“All the images have been amalgamated together to create a spectacular mosaic of the UAE as observed from space with the support of advanced image processing and fusion techniques,” he added.
“The mosaic shows over 150 kilometres of the country’s coastal area spanning from Umm Al Quwain up to Abu Dhabi and 70 kilometres of the inland areas such as Al Madam and Al Lisali,” elaborated Al Mansoori.
According to him, the images reflect the UAE’s progress in infrastructure development and advancement of the scientific and technological skills.
Ahmed Al Mansoori recollected that the Dubai Sat-1’s launch was very complicated, especially in light of the possibility of not succeeding because these types of projects need full readiness of equipment associated with the launch pad.
"Delays in satellite launches are frequent and linked to the final results of the tests carried out by a team of scientists and experts,” he added.
At the time of the launch, Al Mansoori said, “we were looking forward to a seamless implementation and hence the nominal delay in the launch of the satellite. Finally, the launch process of DubaiSat-1 was completed successfully.”
“The achievements by EIAST highlights the UAE’s success in leveraging the advanced technology sector, and underscores the capabilities of young Emiratis to actively participate in new and advanced realms of technology,” he remarked.
The EIAST chief noted that the success of DubaiSat-1 during the first operational year is testament to the science and technology centres’ capability to translate the strategic direction and overall development plans to drive the knowledge-based economy.
“Efforts are being continued to develop the EIAST as a global recognised institution and a national icon in science and innovation,” he added.
Adnan Mohammed Al Rais, Associate Research Engineer of DubaiSat1, said that the research projects of the satellite included infrastructure development for urban and rural planning, civil development and construction.
“The DubaiSat1 helped us observe water quality, especially the water surrounding desalination plants, as well as monitoring water resources, land cover or land change detection for vegetation, landscaping and desertification,” he added.
According to him, applications for land development and engineering, and survey (GIS) projects were part of the DubaiSat-1, which also facilitated management of disasters such as floods and droughts, earthquakes and accidental pollution.
Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, EIAST Board Chairman, said the launch of DubaiSat-1 consisted of two segments, including space and ground. The space segment comprised the development, design and manufacture of satellite equipment and components of the measurement and imaging.
"Meanwhile, the ground segment included 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.
Al Mansoori said that the EIAST is mandated with promoting the development of a knowledge-based economy, and drive sustainable development and economic growth in the Emirates and beyond.
“The agency also champions the effective use of highly sophisticated technologies and accurate spatial information for a variety of applications.”
“The EIAST’s four-fold agenda included promoting the culture of advanced scientific research and technology innovation in Dubai and the UAE, and creating an internationally competitive base for human skills development,” added the agency’s director general.
“It also aimed at positioning Dubai and the UAE as a science and technology development hub among advanced nations and establishing global collaborative links and joint projects with industry and research organisations,” he explained.
Al Mansoori said, “The EIAST has already begun work on the specifications for DubaiSat-3, while the work on DubaiSat-2 continues at full pace for its potential launch by end of 2012.”
Established by a Dubai Government decree in 2006, the EIAST focused on four main scientific programmes including space, astronomy, energy and environment and water research.
(Image Credit: EISAT) 

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