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Dubai to launch region’s first environmental nano satellite

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 10/03/2021 Web report

The Government of Dubai has announced it is preparing to launch the region's first environmental nanometric satellite this month.

The DMSat-1 satellite is part of a high-technology project undertaken to develop solutions to environmental challenges and address climate change. It will be launched on March 20 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

a group of people standing in a room: Dubai to launch region's first environmental nano satellite © Provided by Khaleej Times Dubai to launch region's first environmental nano satellite

What it will do

Using state-of-the-art space technologies, DMSat-1 will monitor, collect and analyse environmental data as well as measure air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The environmental satellite will also help create maps of the concentration and distribution of greenhouse gases in Dubai and the UAE and study seasonal changes in the presence of these gases.

Data provided by the satellite will be used in several areas, including finding solutions to environmental challenges, developing long-term plans to address urban pollution and climate change, and environmental forecasting in Dubai.

This data will also help enhance the emirate's leading role in developing quality projects and pioneering research in the area of climate change.

The DMSat-1 project will help build new capabilities in the field of environmental research at the local level, and provide new opportunities for harnessing space technology to enhance environmental sustainability.

The launch of the satellite strengthens the UAE's implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, which requires the country to generate data on greenhouse gas emissions and build national capacities to study global warming.

Collaborative effort

Overseen by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the project was implemented in collaboration with both local and international research teams.

MBRSC built the satellite in collaboration with the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) at the University of Toronto, which has a successful history of launching satellites similar to DMSat-1.

Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director General, MBRSC, said: "The emergence of new capabilities and competencies is helping the country expand its expertise in using space technology to provide solutions, develop different sectors and harness new horizons in this field. Local institutions are increasingly interested in the space sector and in utilising advanced scientific methods to meet challenges. The launch of the DMSat-1 satellite supports the UAE's aspirations in this field."

"The Arab world's first nanometric environmental satellite developed in collaboration with the Dubai Municipality also reflects the Centre's commitment to working closely with government agencies in the UAE to promote scientific and technical progress at the local level, especially in areas that support future planning and sustainability," AlShaibani added.

Launch details

A team of specialised engineers and project supervisors from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre have been based at the launch site at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan since February 25.

The satellite was placed on the launch rocket on March 7 for initial preparations and tests. These will continue until March 12, the last day of inspection of instruments before launch.

The rocket will be launched at 10:07am local time. The satellite is expected to separate from the launch vehicle into its orbit at 2:20pm, and send its first signal at 3pm.

About the satellite

Weighing 15 kilograms, the DMSat-1 satellite contains three scientific instruments.

The primary instrument is a multispectral polarimeter used to monitor air quality and detect fine particles in the atmosphere. The secondary instrument consists of a pair of spectrometers to detect greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane).

The satellite, which was manufactured in 18 months, will be capable of covering an area of up to 80,000 square kilometres each day. Data will be stored on the onboard storage system and downloaded to MBRSC's ground station.

Over a period of 3-5 days, the satellite will monitor a single site more than once from seven different angles.

The satellite operates in three bands - blue, red and infrared. It will orbit the earth 14 times a day and will pass over the MBRSC ground station 4-5 times a day to receive new imaging orders and enable downloading of data.

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