|06 November, 2018

Another UAE satellite bound for space

On October 29, UAE's KhalifaSat was launched into space from Japan

Image used for illustrative purpose. Satellite Against Earth.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Satellite Against Earth.

Getty Images

Another UAE space object is ready for lift-off, right on the heels of the historic launch of the first Emirati-built satellite. MYSAT-1, the UAE-student-built nanosatellite, is all set to hit the skies this month.

Just last week, on October 29, the country's KhalifaSat was launched into space from Japan by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. It's an advanced Earth-observation satellite that had recently taken its first high-quality photo of the Palm Jumeirah.

MYSAT-1, on the other hand, has been built by around 20 students at the Abu Dhabi-based Khalifa University. It will also be capable of taking photos of Earth; however, it was developed mainly for educational purposes.


An aerospace technology developing firm, Northtrop Grumnman, has built the spacecraft that will transport MYSAT-1 to the International Space Station (ISS). While a commercial space company, NanoRacks, will deploy the nanosatellite above and below the station.

It will be launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia on board the Cygnus NG-10 flight to the ISS.

NanoRacks tweeted on November 5: "NanoRacks has flown research and satellites to @Space_Station from over 30 nations around the world. We're so excited to add the #UAE to this incredible group of space leaders. The #MySat1 #CubeSat from @yahsatofficial & @KhalifaUni will be launching on @northropgrumman's #NG10".

MYSAT-1, which weighs 1.3kg, was built at the Yahsat Space Lab in Masdar City and was a joint venture between students of the Khalifa University, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Al Yahsat Satellite Communications Company.

The nanosatellite is the first satellite to be developed at the lab by the students enrolled in the Space Systems and Technology Master's in Engineering programme at the Khalifa University.

Mona Al Muhairi, chief human capital officer at Yahsat, had said earlier this year: "We are very proud of our engineers as they get us closer to launching MYSAT-1. With every step we make through the CubeSat programme, we demonstrate our commitment to Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.

"Yahsat is delighted to be part of this extraordinary journey by developing local talent and providing innovative satellite communications solutions whilst creating jobs across the region. Yahsat is a proud contributor towards the UAE space agenda, through empowering the national cadet with educational programmes and qualifying them to play an active role in further strengthening the UAE's position in the space sector. The achievement today is the fruit of

our partnership with the Khalifa University and Northrop Grumman to create the region's first master's in engineering degree with a focus in space systems and technology."

The launch of MYSAT-1 will take place this month and the exact date will be revealed soon.

MYSAT-1 and the mission that will take it to space

The nanosatellite MYSAT-1

>Developed by students at the Khalifa University

> It has been built at the Yahsat Space Lab in Masdar City

>The small satellite will measure 10 cm on each side

>It has been built with two payloads, including a camera for Earth observation and a battery developed at Masdar Institute

>MYSAT-1 aims to train and engage students in all phases of satellite development, operation and exploitation through real-world, hands-on research and development experience

>The project had been ongoing since 2015

>It will be launched this month

The Cygnus NG-10 mission

>Launching from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Island, Virginia

>The launch vehicle is the Antares 230

>It will deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS)

>It will be carrying the MYSAT-1 and deliver it to the ISS

>Upon arrival to the International Space Station, Cygnus will be unloaded and prepped for the next phase of its mission. During its stay at the station, astronauts will load the module with cargo ready for disposal.

>Once Cygnus is unberthed, a NanoRacks deployer will release three Cubesats (including MYSAT-1) from both above and below the station.

>Upon completion of its mission, Cygnus will perform a safe, destructive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean

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