Dubai space experts use 3D printing to develop UAE's next satellite

Work is gathering pace on MBZ-Sat at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre

UAE space experts are embracing cutting-edge technology to ensure a successful launch of the country's next satellite.

Engineers at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai used a 3D printer to create parts of a prototype of MBZ-Sat, which is set to blast off into the skies in 2023.

By replicating the design of the Earth-observation satellite, the team can make sure the parts will assemble perfectly when it comes to manufacturing the real thing.

MBZ-Sat, named after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, will be three times more efficient than KhalifaSat – the first UAE-built satellite launched in 2018.

The satellite will measure three metres by five metres. It will weigh about 700 kilograms.

Officials hope the satellite will contribute to the growth of the UAE's knowledge-based economy.

Most of the satellite’s parts will be acquired through UAE-based companies this time, instead of international companies.

It will be put to civilian and commercial use, and is to be built by Emirati scientists and engineers.

Its usage will cover analysis, environmental monitoring, navigation, to help assess the severity of natural disasters and the planning of relief efforts.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the project in October.

"We approved building the new satellite MBZ-Sat, the region’s most technologically advanced in the civil and commercial sector, to be 100 per cent designed by Emiratis," he said.

"This bears the name of my brother Mohamed bin Zayed, may God protect him."

It will be the second satellite after KhalifaSat to be fully developed and built by Emirati engineers.

KhalifaSat was launched from Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.

It was regarded as the first UAE-made satellite and was also built at MBRSC in Dubai.

It provides high-resolution imagery of Earth, which is periodically shared with the public. It is also used for urban planning, to monitor environmental changes and natural disasters.