Watch: UAE’s DhabiSat goes to the International Space Station


UAE DhabiSat
Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Al Yah Satellite Company (Yahsat) and Northrop Grumman announced DhabiSat, the second CubeSat designed and developed by students from Khalifa University with support from partners, lifted off aboard the Cygnus NG-15 spacecraft on the Antares rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, United States.

The launch of DhabiSat marks another milestone for the UAE, the Khalifa academic community, as well as collaborative partners Yahsat and Northrop Grumman. DhabiSat will be deployed from the Cygnus NG-15 refueling spacecraft, following its departure from the ISS in about three months.

Developed by 27 graduate students from Yahsat Space Lab, part of Khalifa University’s Center for Space Technology and Innovation (KUSTIC), the DhabiSat project helps train a new cadre of young people to become qualified engineers to support the growing space sector in the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

Once deployed, DhabiSat will allow students to test custom software modules, developed in-house by students, for the Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem (ADCS). DhabiSat’s high-resolution camera can capture images at a spatial resolution of 12.6 meters per pixel on the ground, from an altitude of 450 km.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “The launch of DhabiSat is another remarkable achievement for the UAE, Khalifa University and partners, marking a major milestone for the UAE space sector which has a skilled and locally trained workforce, equipped by academic institutions across the country. This CubeSat has been completely designed and developed by students with the support of our partners, and illustrates another example of Khalifa University’s overall strategy to develop space scientists and engineers who are advancing in the UAE in terms of progress. technological. We believe that DhabiSat will demonstrate our commitment to developing dedicated human capital through our exclusive academic programs, our KUSTIC research center and with the support of our collaborative partners. “

Muna Almheiri, Chief Human Capital Officer of Yahsat, said: “On behalf of Yahsat, I would like to congratulate the student team and other stakeholders for this exceptional achievement. DhabiSat is a worthy successor to MYSat-1, the first educational mission designed and launched by Yahsat Space Lab three years ago. Since its inception, the lab has championed collaboration between industry and academia, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and resources to develop latent talent in the country. Its high-tech and specialized research facilities support the development of the intellectual capital necessary to advance the UAE’s ambitions in space. We are very pleased with the outcome of our partnership with Khalifa University, Northrop Grumman and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, in addition to the giant strides each of us has made in strengthening the capacities of our young people. As DhabiSat nears deployment, we anticipate exciting times and will continue to provide support and unlock opportunities for aspiring space engineers lite. “

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

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

Khalifa University’s first MYSat-1 CubeSat, conceptualized, designed, integrated, tested and operated as part of the master’s program of concentration in Space Systems and Technologies, was deployed in February 2019. It carried an experimental button cell battery , based on technology developed at Khalifa University with a VGA camera integrated into Yahsat Space Lab based on Commercial Standard Components (COTS).

KUSTIC continues to play an important role in the development and deployment of satellites, supporting other universities. These include the MeznSat project, developed by students from Khalifa University and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, as well as the Light-1 CubeSat under development at Khalifa University, incorporating a payload based on a winning proposal from a team of NYU Abu Dhabi students in the UAE MiniSat competition hosted by Khalifa University and the UAE Space Agency.

KUSTIC’s Yahsat Space Lab is the first of its kind in the region to be able to design, build, and test small satellites up to a 6U (30cm X 20cm X 10cm) form factor. It was created to support CubeSat programs at universities in the UAE in general and space sector-related programs at Khalifa University in particular. KUSTIC seeks to build on the current capabilities developed within Khalifa University to support the space industry, as well as to effectively use resources to achieve the greatest impact for the UAE.


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