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New space technology centre to be set up in Abu Dhabi

New space technology centre to be set up in Abu Dhabi

One of its main objectives will be to build capabilities and create a technical space hub in the UAE

A new space technology and innovation centre is set to be launched in Abu Dhabi to further support the UAE’s future space missions.

Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the UAE Space Agency, and Al Yah Satellite Communications (YahSat), have signed a three-way funding agreement to establish and operate the Khalifa University Space Technology and Innovation Centre (KUSTIC).

Its main objectives will be to build capabilities and create a technical space hub by training UAE students in satellite design and manufacturing, conducting scientific research in space sector and applications, and developing local satellite manufacturing capabilities.

KUSTIC will also seek to promote and inspire entrepreneurship in the space sector, support space science and technology initiatives of the UAE Space Agency, and focus on the design and assembly/integration/testing of small satellites through the Yahsat Space Lab.

The centre will incorporate the existing YahSat Space Lab (YSL), which was established in 2017 as the nationwide focal point in the design and Assembly/Integration/Testing (AIT) of CubeSats, both in terms of facilities and of expertise, a statement said.

All small satellite design, AIT and manufacturing activities of the centre shall be performed at YSL. The lab produced and successfully launched the UAE’s first imaging CubeSat in 2018.

According to the agreement, KUSTIC will also specifically work on various research thrusts covering major aspects of space mission development.

Two existing Khalifa University research centres will contribute to KUSTIC’s activities. The ‘space robotics’ research thrust shall be covered under the leadership of the research staff from the KU Centre for Autonomous Robotic Systems while the ‘space power’ and ‘energy storage’ research thrust shall be covered under the leadership of KU Advanced Power and Energy Center (APEC), another existing research centre.

KUSTIC will also be tasked with raising awareness about the space sector among Emirati youth, the statement added.

Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Hamid Belhoul Al Falasi, minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs and chairman of the UAE Space Agency said: “Earlier this year, we launched a national strategy for space sector that will help our country gain insights matching the level of advanced countries in this vital sector.

“We are looking forward to achieving a fruitful collaboration with Khalifa University of Science and Technology and YahSat that aims to enhance the interest of the youth in technology and innovation, and getting engaged in all areas of science, technology, engineering and math.”

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