Hamdan bin Mohammed approves MBZ-SAT for launch

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, and President of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), has officially approved the MBZ-SAT for launch no earlier than October 2024, marking a significant milestone in the UAE’s space endeavours.

Sheikh Hamdan was briefed on the latest updates and upcoming phases of MBZ-SAT, the most advanced satellite in the region, and the latest addition to the UAE Satellite Programme, during his visit to the headquarters of MBRSC. He was accompanied on the visit by His Excellency Talal Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Vice President of MBRSC.

The briefing covered the satellite’s development, its capabilities, and the strategic plan for its deployment. His Highness expressed his confidence in the Centre’s capabilities to enhance the Arab region’s stature in the global space industry through pioneering projects like MBZ-SAT.

“We are on the brink of a transformative era in space exploration, and the upcoming launch of MBZ-SAT marks a pivotal moment that affirms the UAE’s growing influence as a significant global contributor to the field of space technology,” His Highness said.

“Guided by the vision of our wise leadership, an ambitious agenda and strengthened by strategic partnerships, the UAE’s space sector is poised to extend its reach and enhance its capabilities further,” His Highness noted.

“Through our innovative endeavours and the dedicated efforts at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, we are committed to not only advancing our nation’s capacity in space technology but also contributing valuable knowledge and insights that will benefit the wider region and the international community,” he added.

His Highness further visited the clean room holding the MBZ-SAT and signed off on a plaque bearing the logo of the satellite. During the visit, he engaged with the team responsible for the satellite’s development, and was updated on the technical details and objectives of MBZ-SAT.

Upcoming phases
Following the successful development of MBZ-SAT, the upcoming phase involves environmental testing, which is crucial to ensuring its resilience and functionality in the harsh conditions of space. Once the environmental testing is successfully completed, the final launch preparations will commence. The MBZ-SAT is scheduled for launch no earlier than October 2024 on a SpaceX rocket, and will further solidify the UAE’s position in the global space industry and its commitment to advancing space science and technology.

MBZ-SAT: From the UAE to the World
MBZ-SAT, 100% fully developed and built by a team of Emirati engineers, represents a leap forward in technological prowess. The development of the satellite has played a key role in enhancing the sustainable space economy in the UAE. By involving local companies in the manufacturing of nearly 90% of its mechanical structures and most of its electronic modules, the satellite has significantly advanced the localisation of aerospace manufacturing in the region.

Additionally, equipped with one of the most powerful cameras ever developed in the region, the MBZ-SAT can capture high-resolution images with unprecedented clarity, covering areas less than one square metre in size. This capability not only meets the growing commercial demand for high-resolution satellite images, but also positions the UAE as a hub for high-tech space technology development and innovation.

The Centre will offer rapid turnaround of captured data round-the-clock, sharing it with users globally through an advanced system. This imagery solution can support a wide variety of uses within mapping and analysis, environmental monitoring, navigation, infrastructure management and disaster relief efforts, to name a few.

Following its launch, MBZ-SAT will be operated and monitored from the Mission Control Centre at MBRSC. The advanced Earth-observation satellite will join the ranks of the UAE’s currently active satellites, significantly enhancing the capabilities that MBRSC possesses.

Ambitious achievement
His Excellency Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman, MBRSC said, “Today is a landmark moment for the UAE as we move closer to launching MBZ-SAT, under the wise leadership of the UAE and supervision of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This achievement is not just a testament to our technological prowess but also a beacon of the innovative spirit that drives our nation. As we set our sights on new heights, our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in space exploration continues to grow. Our journey towards becoming a global leader in space science is bolstered by the dedication and passion of our Emirati team, who are the true architects of our future in space.”

His Excellency Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC said, “Under the guidance of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the MBZ-SAT project has flourished, reflecting our nation’s ambitious drive to pioneer cutting-edge space technologies. As we prepare for this landmark launch, our focus remains steadfast on harnessing the full potential of space science to benefit humanity and to support sustainable development on Earth. With MBZ-SAT, we are not only launching a satellite; we are elevating our capabilities to meet the challenges of tomorrow and inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers.”