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MBZ-SAT Image Credit:

Dubai: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) yesterday announced that it has completed structure model and initial tests of MBZ-SAT, the most advanced commercial satellite in the region in the field of high-resolution satellite imagery along with the completion of the engineering and Flatsat qualification module.

The team will now begin preparations to manufacture the flight model of MBZ-SAT.

MBZ-SAT, which is the second Emirati satellite to be fully developed and built by a team of Emirati engineers after the KhalifaSat, has been pivotal in supporting the local space industry, with 90 per cent of the mechanical structure and 50 per cent of the electronic modules being built in the UAE.

The MBZ-SAT will be the first satellite capable of detecting a larger number of man-made as well as natural elements with a higher rate of precision and resolution, as compared to the current range of Earth observation satellites. Furthermore, the raw data gathered by the new satellite’s system will be able to process better AI functionality that can assist in quicker analysis and processing of satellite imagery.

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Falcon 9

MBRSC has actively engaged with regional companies in the effort to build a local hub for space-related manufacturers, and has partnered with local companies to manufacture and supply the components of MBZ-SAT.

MBRSC had earlier revealed that it had partnered with Strata, a leading composite aero structures manufacturing company based in the UAE, to work jointly in developing local manufacturing capabilities for MBZ-SAT and with EPI, a leading precision engineering firm in the UAE, to produce parts for the satellite.

Furthermore, the Centre has partnered with Rockford Xellerix, a UAE-based embedded systems and wire harness connectivity solutions provider, to develop the space harness and with HALCON, a regional leader in the end-to-end manufacturing of precision-guided systems, for the development of specialised PCB assembly and rework of the satellite. MBRSC has also partnered with Falcon Group, to develop the high-quality mechanical structure of MBZ-SAT, using aluminium and titanium.

Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director General, MBRSC said: “We are on track for the completion of MBZ-SAT as the teams have stepped up efforts to keep production on pace. The progress so far, illustrates the high level of skills and capabilities of our team of engineers and scientists. The milestone further accelerates our satellite programme and catalyses our ambition to be at the forefront of the space sector, utilising technology developments and sharing space resources for the sake of humanity. We have further extended our partnership with local firms, who have played an integral role in the progress of the project. This is in line with strengthening specialised national competencies, developing scientific and technical capabilities, spreading the culture of innovation and national pride as well as consolidating the role and position of the UAE in the space sector regionally and globally.

Ismail Ali Abdulla, CEO, Strata said: “The agreement between Strata and MBRSC marks a significant milestone for the manufacturing sector in the UAE. As a company that aims to solidify the ‘made with pride in the UAE’ brand across the globe, we are proud that Strata will contribute to the UAE’s efforts to develop the space sector in the region by utilising its manufacturing capabilities and expertise to create components for MBZ-SAT.”

Prabhu Badrinathen, CEO, Falcon Group, said: “We are delighted to be a part of the MBZ-SAT project and have been working with MBRSC since its inception. Being flexible and a local company in the UAE, we try our fullest to keep our clients happy when it comes to quality, cost and delivery. We wish the team all the very best for all future endeavours and we promise to be with them in all their projects enabling them to achieve what is being dreamt by the leaders of this nation.”

Nauman Arshad, Founder and CEO, Rockford Xellerice, said: “We are privileged to have worked closely with MBRSC to provide an advanced wire harness solution for the MBZ-SAT. Teamwork, technical know-how and localisation have resulted in the successful design and development of a highly reliable wire harness solution that is capable of carrying high-resolution imagery of one of the most advance satellites in the region.”

Christian Ziehe, the Acting CEO of EPI, said: “Our alliance with MBRSC reinforces the value of leveraging local capabilities to shape an ecosystem dedicated to manufacturing space-related technology and system. For EPI, it serves as a unique opportunity to grow the company’s expertise in the space manufacturing field, and further diversify our operations.”

MBZ-SAT will be equipped with an automated system for arranging images round-the-clock, ensuring that it provides the highest quality standards of satellite images intended for commercial use globally. The satellite will improve image capture resolution by more than double what is capable in the previously launched system. It will also increase the downlink data transmission speed by thrice the current capacity. The fully automated image scheduling and processing system of MBZ-SAT will also be able to produce more than 10 times the images the Centre produces currently.

For more than a decade, MBRSC has been providing detailed, high-resolution images that have been captured through DubaiSat-1, DubaiSat-2 and KhalifaSat satellites, according to the requirements and needs of government institutions and private sector companies around the world for more than a decade. The Centre is also part of the International Disaster Charter and Sentinel Asia, playing a crucial role in disaster relief and management globally.