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Following Mars probe, UAE to launch two navigation satellites

August 12, 2020  - By

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will launch the first of two navigation satellites in 2021, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), spurred by the successful launch of a Mars probe on July 19.

The satellite is designed to demonstrate the country’s technological capabilities. A second, further enhanced satellite will be launched in 2022, said Khaled Al Hashmi, director of the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) at UAE University, Al Ain.

The satellites are the first project of Satellite Assembly, Integration and Testing Center, a collaboration formed by Tawazun Economic Council with Airbus and the NSSTC.

Funded by the UAE Space Agency, the satellites are not intended to add a navigation system — at least not right away. “We try to select a certain technology, design and develop the satellite and payload here, and will own the intellectual property rights,” Hashmi told WAM, the state news agency.

The UAE’s navigation satellite project is part of the Science and Technology Roadmap created by the UAE Space Agency and the NSSTC on developing new technologies. The NSSTC was jointly established by UAE University, UAE Space Agency and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ICT-Fund).

Decision on the program came following the successful launch of the Hope Probe, which opened collaboration opportunities between the UAE and global space agencies and companies. In the first Arab interplanetary mission, the probe will reach Mars in 2021 to provide a complete picture of the planet’s atmosphere.

Engineers and technicians at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center prepare the Hope Probe for its trip to Mars. (Photo: UAE Space Agency)

Engineers and technicians at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center prepare the Hope Probe for its trip to Mars. (Photo: UAE Space Agency)

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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