New satellite named in honour of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed set to launch in 2023

MBZ-Sat will be put to civilian and commercial uses

Japan's rocket H-2A is launched, carrying aboard a green gas observing satellite "Ibuki-2"  and KhalifaSat, a UAE satellite, Tanegashima, southern Japan, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. The Japanese rocket carrying United Arab Emirates' first locally-made satellite has successfully lifted off from a space center in southern Japan. (Nozomi Endo/Kyodo News via AP)

The UAE will build a satellite to be named in honour of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

MBZ-Sat is expected to be launched in 2023.

It will be put to civilian and commercial uses and will be built by Emirati scientists and engineers.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the project on Wednesday.

"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.

"Our first satellite entirely developed in the UAE was KhalifaSat that is already sending high-res space images.

"Our efforts continue towards developing a competitive and integrated space sector, led by national experts, astronauts and research centres.

"Our Hope probe and lunar rover are the beginning of the UAE’s participation in the global race to space."

The 3 metre x 5 metre unit will weigh around 700 kg, and promises to be among the world’s most advanced high-resolution imaging satellites, officials said at a briefing.

It will show details within an area of less than one square metre, considered one of the most advanced features.

Customers could place orders online for high-resolution images around the clock. Processing and downloads will be completed in less than two hours.

The satellite is being developed at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai.

Usage will cover analysis, environmental monitoring, navigation, to help assess the severity of natural disasters and plan relief efforts.

“The announcement of the launch of the new satellite MBZ-Sat and its services is just a glimpse into what the future holds for the UAE,” said Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, MBRSC chairman.

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

"Clearer, more accurate and  higher resolution of images is a key feature for better extraction and processing of data," Amer Al Sayegh, the centre's senior director of space engineering, told a media briefing.

KhalifaSat was launched in 2018 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.

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