UAE's ‘DhabiSat’ takes off to International Space Station
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UAE’s ‘DhabiSat’ takes off to International Space Station

UAE’s ‘DhabiSat’ takes off to International Space Station

Developed by 27 graduate students at Yahsat Space Lab, the project is helping train individuals to become qualified engineers

‘DhabiSat’, the second CubeSat designed and developed by students of Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa University of Science and Technology with support from partners, lifted off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Wallops flight facility in Virginia, US.

The Cubesat was aboard the Cygnus NG-15 spacecraft on the Antares rocket, and will be deployed from the resupply spacecraft Cygnus NG-15, following its departure from the ISS in approximately three months.

Developed by 27 graduate students at Yahsat Space Lab, which is part of the Khalifa University Space Technology and Innovation Center (KUSTIC), the project is helping train individuals to become qualified engineers to support the space sector in the UAE. Once deployed, DhabiSat will enable students to test custom software modules, developed in-house by the students, for the Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem (ADCS).

The high resolution camera on DhabiSat can capture images at 12.6 meters per pixel spatial resolution on ground, from an altitude of 450km, official news agency WAM reported.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice-president, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “The launch of DhabiSat is another remarkable achievement for the UAE, Khalifa University and the partners, marking a major milestone for the UAE’s space sector that will have locally-qualified, and trained manpower equipped by academic institutions within the country. This CubeSat was entirely designed and developed by students with support from our partners.”

Muna Almheiri, chief human capital officer of Yahsat, said: “DhabiSat is a worthy successor of MYSat-1, the first educational mission conceived and launched by Yahsat Space Lab three years ago. We are very pleased with the outcome of our partnership with Khalifa University, Northrop Grumman and the UAE Space Agency, besides the giant strides each of us has taken to build the capabilities of our youth. As DhabiSat approaches deployment, we anticipate exciting times, and will continue to provide support and unlock opportunities for aspiring space and satellite engineers.”

“DhabiSat is the second satellite that we have collaborated on and launched with Yahsat and Khalifa University,” said Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, tactical space systems division, Northrop Grumman. “The experimental attitude control algorithms being tested by DhabiSat have the potential to improve the efficiency of future CubeSats and exhibit the innovative research and technological development possible in the application of small satellites.”

Earlier, DhabiSat cleared its Critical Design Review (CDR), and the Flight Model Readiness Review (FMRR) and had undergone pre-shipment review in December 2020.

Khalifa University’s first CubeSat MYSat-1, conceptualised, designed, integrated, tested and operated as part of the Master’s Concentration in Space Systems and Technologies programme, was deployed in February 2019. It carried an experimental coin cell battery, based on the technology developed at Khalifa University along with a VGA camera integrated at the Yahsat Space Lab based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components.

KUSTIC continues to facilitate the development and deployment of satellites, including the MeznSat project, developed by students from Khalifa University and American University of Ras Al Khaimah, as well as the Light-1 CubeSat being developed at Khalifa University.

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