The sky is the limit for UAE aeronautical engineers, who have begun work on what will be the first Arab-made satellite - expected to be in the earth’s orbit by 2017.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the initial phase in building the satellite - to be called the Khalifa Sat in honor of the President, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan - at the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) on Sunday (photo).
The satellite, the third that will be launched by Dubai and EIAST, will be constructed entirely by 45 Emirati engineers, after the first, in 2009, was a largely South Korean production with input from Emirati scientists, and the second, launched just last month, had double the number of UAE scientists working but still had input from South Korea.
Sheikh Mohammed said the country was “extremely delighted” to see the sons and daughters of the UAE forming the first Arab team to both build and launch a satellite. “Our confidence in them is boundless and our ambitions are the sky’s limit and success comes from Allah.”
He said the latest project marked a turning point for the state, with the prowess of the country’s scientists opening new avenues and huge prospects for the UAE’s development. “The Khalifa Sat is a message to all Arabs that ushering (our country) into the space era is neither out of reach, nor impossible, and our state will be a leader in this industry as long as we have the confidence and courage to enter into competition with major countries in this field.”
He also said the country’s “doors will remain open for cooperation with all Arab countries in space technology and engineering”.
He added that he would personally follow up on the progress of the Khalifa Sat team, revealing the government would begin to set up similar teams in other fields.
“When I look at the outstanding Emirati performers I always say this is what the late founding fathers Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum planted, and today we are harvesting the fruits from the building capacities of Emirati citizens.”
During the visit, Sheikh Mohammed heard from the engineers about the details of the project, and viewed plans and designs of facilities for building satellites in 2015.
EIAST is currently establishing the advanced facilities and high-tech laboratories needed to build the humidity- and dust-proof satellite.