Dubai blast-off set for 2008

State-owned EIAST working on design and development of first satellite, testing to start this year.

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By  James Bennett Published  September 16, 2007

Dubai will launch the UAE’s inaugural satellite DubaiSat-1 sometime in 2008, it was announced on Sunday.

At a press conference outlining details of the project, Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) said it is currently working on the design and development of the satellite and will begin testing this year.

State-owned EIAST said final testing is scheduled to start next year, followed by DubaiSat-1’s launch into space.

The institution did not give a specific date for the satellite’s launch.

The project was announced last week on the sidelines of a state visit to the UAE by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

EIAST has teamed up with the Russian Federal Space Agency on the project, and DubaiSat-1 will be launched under supervision of the Russian agency through Moscow-based International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras.

Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, director general of EIAST, said DubaiSat-1 will support the UAE’s urban and rural development, as well as help monitor pollution and natural disasters.

“DubaiSat-1 will support the infrastructural development by providing information that is central for the decision making process affecting the urban and rural planning as well as transport, utilities, and mapping, in addition to environmental applications such as monitoring pollution and detecting oil spills,” Al Mansoori said in a statement.

“It will also help manage natural disasters and promote research and development, space science and other scientific disciplines.”

EIAST is also working with South Korea’s Satrec Initiative on the project, and DubaiSat-1 acting project manager Salem Al Marri said his team of engineers has been training with the company, which specialises in the development of small satellite systems and national space programs.

Marri said the team will be involved in the management of various educational centres, including an Earth Observation Centre (EOC) and a Spatial Information Centre (SIC).

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