News Update

UAE to develop and launch navigation satellite next year

Sep 2020 | No Comment

According to the report published in National, the UAE has announced plans to develop and launch a navigation satellite in 2021, followed by the launch of a more advanced version the year after.

Funded by the UAE Space Agency, the project will be the first one to be carried out at the new Satellite Assembly, Integration and Testing Centre in Al Ain (AIT Satellite Centre).

The facility, which was launched in partnership with Airbus and Tawazun Economic Council, is located at the UAE University’s National Space and Science Technology Centre (NSSTC) and aims to increase the nation’s satellite development capabilities.

The satellites are not meant to replace the existing Global Navigation Satellite Systems, which offers global coverage through four different versions operated by Europe, the United States, Russia and China, as well two regional ones owned by Japan and India.

Navigation satellites help make navigation systems in cars and smartphones possible, and play a major role in the aviation and humanitarian sector.

The main aim behind the initiative is to “develop capabilities in the UAE” and, if successful, the project could be expanded further.

Officials did not reveal the cost of the project or how many Emirati engineers will work towards developing it, however, they will receive training at Airbus facilities in France and locally.

In most of the previous space projects, the UAE has hired firms such as Airbus and Thales Alenia to build and develop satellites for them. Now, the nation is moving rapidly towards producing their own satellites locally.

In 2018, engineers at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai launched their first 100 per cent Emirati-built satellite KhalifaSat.

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