UAE: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), United Arab Emirates, and The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have announced two winning payloads for PHI-1. Under the MOU signed last year at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Dubai, UNOOSA and MBRSC together will strive to accelerate and foster innovation in the space technology sector by extending their support and knowledge to the world.
As part of the new announcement, PHI-1 will provide a 5U slot within the 12U modular setup of the satellite to the National Space Science Agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain (NSSA) and the Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal to onboard their novel projects and test them in space with the necessary assistance.
The “AMAN” payload conceptualized by the team from Bahrain will test an optimized Advanced Encryption Standard, which aims to secure communication between the satellite and the ground station. While the “Danfe Space Mission” of Nepal will study the operation of PX4 Autopilot, a middleware for drones in space, with a focus on how the system’s behaviour and operation. Both the winning payloads will provide practical experience, knowledge, and skills to the teams and will contribute to capacity-building in space technology.
As part of the UNOOSA initiative ‘Access to Space for All’, PHI-1 will facilitate the end goal to ensure that no one is left behind on the path to space exploration and sustainable development on Earth.
H.E. Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General of MBRSC, stated on this occasion: " We have made tremendous progress in the year since the initial announcement of the Payload Hosting Initiative. Today we are congratulating the entities that have been selected to participate in the PHI-1 mission. This joint effort supports capacity-building and promotes space science and technology in developing countries and is an important opportunity for innovation and new technology demonstration. This truly testifies, how with everyone's efforts and participation, we can advance in space exploration".
UNOOSA Acting Director Niklas Hedman said: "The Access to Space for All initiative has been ground-breaking for the 21st-century capacity-building in space science and technology. We are grateful for the support of our partners, thanks to which we can make a real difference for teams and institutions all around the world. I already look forward to seeing the results of the PHI programme boosting the space industry in Bahrain and Nepal.”
PHI as an initiative is intended to contribute to broadening space activities, and its application to advancing human resource development in line with the mission and objectives of Sustainable Development Goals.
The CEO of NSSA Mohamed Al-Aseeri commented: "We are delighted and honoured that the "Aman" project was selected by UNOOSA and MBRSC in the first round of the PHI initiative. Aman is considered the first Bahraini payload fully designed, integrated, and tested by NSSA. This opportunity is unprecedented in our quest to contribute meaningfully to the global effort towards sustainable, peaceful use of outer space and building national capacity in the space field."
Abhas Maskey, the Founder of Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal said: “If Nepal is to progress as a spacefaring nation, the country has to take each and every opportunity available to develop self-reliance, perform R&D and build capacity for space. I strongly believe that Nepal's involvement in PHI-1 will be a small step toward future potential collaboration for Vision 2050, a vision to launch our nation's first astronaut in space by 2050. Space is the new limit, even for Nepal."
This initiative will further raise awareness to utilize the space sector as a driver for economic and social development and look at it as a long-term driver for innovation and strengthening international cooperation on an all-inclusive basis.
For more detailed information, please see: https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/access2space4all/PHI/PHI_Index.html
Established in 2006, the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) started out with five engineers, who took it upon themselves to develop their capabilities and expand their knowledge in the field of space, relying on strong will and solid determination. Since then, the centre has continued its journey to be the incubator of the “UAE National Space Programme”. The MBRSC has undertaken the tasks of building, developing, and operating a number of Earth observation satellites, providing imaging services, analysing and studying them, as well as producing relevant data to scientific communities and research centres around the world. Among the satellites that the centre operates are DubaiSat-1 & DubaiSat-2. The MBRSC is also responsible for KhalifaSat, celebrated as the first satellite that was fully built by Emiratis in 2018. Recently, the centre revealed its plan to develop the new satellite MBZ-SAT, which is expected to be launched at the end of 2023 and to be the latest in the field of high-resolution imaging from outer space.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space, and in the utilisation of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development. The Office assists any United Nations Member States to establish legal and regulatory frameworks to govern space activities and strengthens the capacity of developing countries to use space science technology and applications for development by helping to integrate space capabilities into national development programmes.