Bayanat and Yahsat announce space programme to build satellite capabilities

Partnership will see development of at least five low Earth orbit satellites

An image taken of Yas Island by an ICEYE satellite from about 560km in space. Photo: ICEYE
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Bayanat, a geospatial data products and services provider, and Abu Dhabi’s Al Yah Satellite Communications, better known as Yahsat, have launched a space programme aimed at building national satellite remote sensing and earth observation (EO) capabilities within the UAE.

The space programme will look for business opportunities in the local and global EO market, Bayanat said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

It aims to develop at least five SAR low Earth orbit satellites to provide a consistent data stream for end-to-end solutions for applications.

SAR, or Synthetic Aperture Radar, is an active sensing system that illuminates the Earth’s surface and measures the reflected signal to generate high-resolution images. Unlike traditional optical imaging satellites, SAR can capture images day and night, regardless of weather or sunlight.

“The launch of the first LEO satellite scheduled for the first quarter of 2024 will significantly enhance Bayanat’s existing offerings to provide more comprehensive and high-quality services to clients both locally and internationally,” Hasan Al Hosani, chief executive of Bayanat, said.

Bayanat’s space sector expansion positions the company to drive its growth and become a key player in the industry.

The constellation of satellites will cover the entire value chain in Yahsat’s upstream and midstream capabilities, its satellite infrastructure as well as its satellite-enabled solutions.

It will “significantly enhance Bayanat’s commercial offerings by providing valuable geospatial insights to various industries in a timely and accurate manner”, the company said.

The space programme forms part of Bayanat and Yahsat’s partnership with ICEYE, an SAR satellite manufacturer based in Finland.

“The partnership … will drive the development of a sovereign EO ecosystem which will enable us to provide cutting-edge solutions, while contributing to skill development, scientific advancements and sustained economic growth,” Mr Al Hosani said.

Founded in 2007, Yahsat is a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company. It offers multi-mission satellite services in more than 150 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia and Australasia.

Yahsat’s managed solutions business involves providing satellite communication services to the UAE government, with about 85 per cent of the company’s revenue coming from the UAE market.

Bayanat, which listed its share on the ADX in October, is backed by Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company G42.

The company more than doubled its net profit last year as revenue surged in line with improving business performance.

Net income for the 12-month period to the end of December climbed to Dh202.3 million ($55 million), up from Dh96.28 million the previous year.

Updated: May 17, 2023, 9:10 AM