First Emirati-made satellite, KhalifaSat, to launch in October

KhalifaSat will be launched aboard the H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan



The first satellite made completely by Emirati engineers in the UAE, will be launched into orbit on October 29, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced on Wednesday.

KhalifaSat will be launched aboard the H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan, in partnership with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, official news agency WAM reported.

KhalifaSat, an earth observation satellite, will join the UAE’s two imaging satellites already in orbit – DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2.

The development of the satellite began after UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched the KhalifaSat project in December 2013.

The space machine was designed, tested, built and managed by Emirati engineers at the MBRSC’s Advanced Technology Laboratories, making it the first satellite to be developed in the facility.

In February, it was transported from Dubai to South Korea’s Incheon International Airport in anticipation of its launch.

Read: Video: First UAE-made satellite flown to South Korea for launch

Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director general of the MBRSC, said: “KhalifaSat is a unique Earth observation satellite which aims to serve humanity.

“This confirms that the strategy adopted by MBRSC to prepare and train Emirati scientists and engineers is successful, and we are on the right track to turn Dubai into a global hub for space technology.”

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the MBRSC said the launch of KhalifaSat is an important step towards achieving the UAE’s space strategy.

The UAE Space Agency is planning to launch two satellites this year, the Dubai Media Office reported earlier this year.

A further two launches were planned over the next three years bringing the organisation’s total satellites to 12 by 2020.

The UAE has revealed a series of space projects as it prepares to send a probe to Mars by 2020.

In 2017, the country launched its first astronaut programme with the goal of sending four Emiratis into space in the next three years.

Two astronauts from the Emirati corps will be trained in Russia – including one primary and one backup. One of them will be joining a crew of Russian commander and an American astronaut in Soyuz MS-12 spaceflight which is planned to launch to International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019.

Read more: UAE astronaut programme: Final 18 chosen

In September last year, the UAE also revealed plans to build a Dhs500m simulation city on Earth to imitate a future project on the red planet it plans to build in 2117.

Read: UAE unveils plans for $136m simulation of Mars city

In June, Dubai also announced that it is looking to transform its southern airport into a hub for supersonic, hypersonic and space travel.

Read more: Dubai plans hub for conventional, hypersonic, space travel