UAE nanosatellite launched into space from India

The UAE’s Nayif-1 nanosatellite was among 104 satellites launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, on Wednesday.

Indian onlookers watch the launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) at Sriharikota on Wednesday. Arun Sankar / AFP
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ABU DHABI // The UAE’s Nayif-1 nanosatellite was among 104 satellites launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, on Wednesday.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid said that the space projects of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, of which he is chairman, were testimony to the UAE leadership’s determination to enhance the country’s contributions towards reviving Arab civilisations.

“Yesterday, we saw the launch of one of the most important space projects humanity has ever known, the Mars 2117 Project,” said the Crown Prince of Dubai. “This project reflects our leadership’s aim to make the UAE a pioneer in shaping humanity’s future and its determination to leave a positive mark on human development with innovative thinking and a determination to achieve success.

“With the launch of the new satellite, we are confident that we are on the right path for achieving new scientific breakthroughs with the efforts of UAE citizens.”

The ground station, located at the American University of Sharjah, received the first signal from Nayif-1 18 minutes and 32 seconds after it reached its orbit.

“The successful launch of the nanosatellite, Nayif-1, is a significant stride in our journey towards the sustainable development of the UAE space sector,” said Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of MBRSC. “The university students who participated in all phases of the space project are a living example of the success of our strategies towards building a knowledge and innovation-based economy, as well as making preparations for the post-oil era.

“We aspire to ensure the sustainability of educational space projects and we are determined to develop the capabilities of Emirati engineering students, as we believe that youth is the source from which both innovation and excellence flow.”

Deputy project manager of Nayif-1 at MBRSC, Fatma Lootah, said that the nanosatellite passed over the ground station at 9.30am.

“In its subsequent passes, we will continue to monitor the satellite to understand how it responds to commands in the daytime and in the evening; however it will be shifted later on to the autonomous mode,” she said. “We will also verify the active control system board in Nayif-1, which determines the satellite’s direction and maintains its balance, especially as this is the first time this board has been used in a 1U nanosatellite (10x10x10cm).”

Hessa Al Matroushi, deputy project manager of Nayif-1 at MBRSC, said that it will pass over the ground station four times a day - twice in the morning and twice in the evening.

“We’ll use the morning passes to evaluate the satellite’s health and behavior, in addition to sending and receiving text messages on Amateur Radio frequencies throughout the world,” she said. “The night passes, on the other hand, are used specifically for sending and receiving messages.

Nayif-1 has several other scientific objectives in its mission, including characterising and validating the accuracy of a thermal model of Nayif-1 with in-situ temperature measurements in space, as well as determining the evolution of the solar cells performance in space during the mission design life.

Nayif-1’s knowledge transfer programme was implemented in partnership with Innovative Solutions in Space. It was launched into a sun synchronous orbit at an altitude about 512 kilometres above the Earth.

*AP and Agence-France Presse

*This article has been amended since it was first published.