UAE, Airbus to build satellites in Al Ain

The UAE will soon have a fully autonomous AIT satellite capability

Image used for illustrative purpose. Aerial View Of Satellite Over Earth Planet.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Aerial View Of Satellite Over Earth Planet.

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Abu Dhabi-based Tawazun Economic Council on Wednesday announced that it would set up assembly, integration and testing (AIT) centre for satellites in Al Ain in partnership with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and the National Space Science and Technology Centre (NSSTC) of the UAE University.

The AIT Satellite Centre will develop small to medium-sized communication, navigation and hyperspectral satellites ranging between 50 to 250 kilogrammes and will commence operations at the beginning of 2021.

Airbus will also manage the procurement, installation and operational qualification required for the equipment.

The UAE Space Agency is funding the first two projects that will be completed under the management and operation of NSSTC. The first project will be a satellite that will augment navigational capabilities for the UAE and the second will be the Arab 813 Satellite.

Both projects are currently underway with the support of Airbus and will be completed at the new facilities. Currently, the UAE's space sector employs 3,000 people across 50 space related entities, five space research and development centres and three universities offering space degrees.

This new project will create 32 new jobs - at least 22 of whom will be UAE nationals - with significant know-how transfer and training being conducted at Airbus facilities in France as well as locally.

"This is our second project after Yahsat, and there are many more projects to come, as Tawazun works to further develop the UAE space sector. The UAE is building and acquiring the knowledge required to become a regional hub for space activities and advanced research and development," said Matar Ali Al Romaithi, chief economic development officer of Tawazun.

He added that the Centre will also increase and develop expertise and knowledge of the local talent available in the country.

"The space industry is an important and strategic sector for the UAE, as it enables the development of high-level skills and drives innovation," said Mikail Houari, president for Africa and Middle East at Airbus.

Dr Khaled Al Hashmi, director of NSSTC, said the UAE will soon have a fully autonomous AIT satellite capability.

"The NSSTC will become the centre where the knowledge that Airbus has imparted will come together to support the UAE space sector," said Al Hashmi.

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