UAE students receive first signal from MeznSat nanosatellite

The CubeSat was launched on Monday on board a Russian rocket

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A miniature environmental satellite developed by degree students in the UAE is in good condition after sending its first signal since lift-off in Russia.

A team at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah received communication from MeznSat at their on-campus satellite ground station in the early hours of Tuesday, at 1.41am Gulf Standard Time.

The three-unit CubeSat was launched onboard a Soyuz 2.1b rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia at 3.20pm GST on Monday. It was built by students from Aurak and Khalifa University.

“We are very pleased with our success in receiving the first signal from the satellite during its passage through UAE airspace early this morning,” said Dr Abdul Halim Jallad, supervisor of the MeznSat project at Aurak.

“As per the first signs, the satellite is in good condition, and the batteries are well charged.

“On the other hand, we succeeded in sending a signal that the satellite successfully received and acknowledged, and this is an encouraging indicator which shows that the satellite is progressing in its mission.”

Students will get more information from the nanosat once it passes over the UAE again on Wednesday afternoon.

The next step for the mission is the commissioning of rotation and stability of the CubeSat in orbit.

Carried to the low Earth orbit altitude of 575 kilometres, MeznSat aims to monitor greenhouse gases over the UAE and predict algal bloom in the Arabian Gulf.

It will carry out those tasks using an infrared spectrometer and RGB camera.

MeznSat is the third CubeSat to be launched by the UAE, after Nayif-1 in 2017 and MySat-1 in 2018.