First satellite fully built in United Arab Emirates to launch before end of 2018

KhalifaSat, the first satellite fully built in the UAE by a team of Emirati engineers, will be fired into orbit before the end of the year.
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The UAE Space Agency boss says the plan is to launch another satellite dedicated to educational and research purposes in the coming months.

Dr Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, director-general of the UAE Space Agency, said the satellite will be launched from the ground station in Japan aboard the rocket, H-IIA.

"The UAE Space Agency is planning to launch another satellite dedicated to educational and research purposes in the coming few months," he also revealed in an interview with state news agency WAM.

Once these launches are completed, the UAE will have 10 multi-purpose satellites, raising the UAE investment in the space sector to AED22 billion, he added.

"KhalifaSat marks a critical milestone in the nature and form of the UAE's investment in the space industry. KhalifaSat is a source of inspiration for Emirati generations because it is the first satellite to be fully manufactured in the UAE. It is considered one of the first productions of the advanced technology industry in the UAE. KhalifaSat will usher the UAE into the space manufacturing sector," he told WAM..

KhalifaSat will provide high-quality detailed imagery for a variety of uses.

Al Ahbabi also revealed the UAE's intention to formulate a pan-Arab alliance for space.

"We have held coordinating and consultative meetings with representatives of specialised agencies and universities in six Arab countries to lay the groundwork and kernel of the alliance, whose prime mandate is to assist Arab countries to develop their space sector and establish national space agencies as a prelude to create a space science knowledge transfer mechanism and launch national space strategies," he added.

On the latest developments regarding the Hope Probe, he said that work is progressing as scheduled on sending the first Arab probe to Mars from Japan by 2020.

He also said the UAE is aspiring to become a regional centre for space science and technology by forging constructive partnerships with international organisations.

"So far, we have signed 25 agreements with major international space agencies and institutions. We are planning to conclude two memoranda of understanding shortly," he disclosed.

The UAE also has plans to build the first city on Mars as part of the 2117 Mars project.

A version of this story first appeared at Arabian Business.

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