ABU DHABI // The first satellite developed by Emirati students from the American University of Sharjah is ready for lift-off into space.
The nanosatellite Nayif-1 was designed with the help of a team of engineers and specialists from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in part of a partnership to provide hands-on experience to the students.
It has passed all the necessary tests and is ready for its launch this year, the centre said.
Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of the centre, said the satellite’s development was a testament to its commitment to develop Emirati talent.
“There is no doubt that the field of satellite design and manufacturing is a new industry to UAE universities and students,” Mr Al Shaibani said.
“The Emirati students possess the skills and capabilities to design and build a CubeSat as a result of a knowledge-transfer strategy and cooperation between academic and professional institutions that are launching real space projects, enabling students to see the product of their work as a reality in space.”
The satellite is about 10 cubic centimetres and weighs about 1 kilogram. One of its most notable features is that it is programmed to transfer messages in Arabic.
“This is a great achievement and a source of pride for all of us,” said Dr Bjorn Kjerfve, chancellor of American University of Sharjah.
“Satellite technologies are destined to become an important part of the future of the country and we are pleased to see our students and faculty play their due role in making it happen.
“Together with partners such as MBRSC, I am sure our future endeavours in this field will go from strength to strength.”
Ibrahim Al Qasim, project manager of Nayif-1, said development of the satellite went through several stages, including initial design, assembly, testing and launch preparation.
“The flight model of Nayif-1 successfully completed all testing necessary to ensure that the main components of the satellite were working properly,” Mr Al Qasim said.
A ground station has been installed at the university, which will operate and control the satellite through its journey in space, he said.
Dr Mohamed El Tarhuni, professor and associate dean of the College of Engineering at the university, said the partnership with the centre had been a “very exciting and fruitful experience for the students”.