UAE’s student-built DhabiSat blasts off to the International Space Station

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A satellite designed and developed by students from Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi lifted off for the International Space Station at the weekend.

DhabiSat, built by 27 graduate students at Yahsat Space Lab in the capital, started its journey aboard the Cygnus NG-15 spacecraft on the Antares rocket.

The satellite will be used to gather data for space research and can capture high resolution images from an altitude of 450km.

The launch took place at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, US, and marks another milestone in the UAE’s space journey.

Less than two weeks ago, the Emirates made history when its Hope probe successfully entered Mars’ orbit to begin a two-year data-collecting mission.

“This CubeSat was entirely designed and developed by students with support from our partners,” said Dr Arif Al Hammadi, executive vice-president of Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

“[It] demonstrates another example of Khalifa University’s overarching strategy to develop space scientists and engineers who will take the UAE forward in terms of technological progress.

“The launch of DhabiSat [marks] a major milestone for the UAE’s space sector that will have locally-qualified and trained manpower equipped by academic institutions within the country.”

The mission was carried out in partnership with Al Yah Satellite Company (Yahsat) and Northrop Grumman.

It is the fourth CubeSat to be launched into the skies by the UAE.

The first was Nayif-1 in 2017, followed by MySat-1, which was launched by Yahsat Space Lab three years ago. It was deployed into space in February 2019.

In September of last year, MeznSat lifted-off on board a Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.

It was built by students at Khalifa University and American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) and funded by the UAE Space Agency.

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).

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

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Published: February 21, 2021 10:44 AM