Dubai: Wherever you may be in the UAE today, Monday, you won’t miss the action in Japan when the UAE’s KhalifaSat blasts off to space at 8.08am (UAE time) as it will be live-streamed on different channels.
The first remote sensing satellite built from scratch in the UAE, the KhalifaSat will be launched on an H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Centre, an island to the south of Japan.
Top officials of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) will be at the Takesaki Observation Stand, 3km away from the launch pad, to watch the launch.
The Tanegashima island is expected to have sunny weather with patchy clouds on Monday afternoon, according to Accuweather. It will be windy at times with west northwest winds with speeds of 20km/h, reaching 29km/h. The average temperature will be 20C.
Barring any weather changes or technical issues, the launch should proceed as planned. The launch window is between 8.08am and 8.20am.
The live-stream on MBRSC’s website and social media channels will begin at 7am in the UAE. Dubai TV will also have a live broadcast.
Once in space, the satellite will move southward to Australia to take detailed snapshots of the Earth that can be used for urban planning, environmental monitoring, and other commercial purposes.
Amer Al Sayegh, KhalifaSat Project Manager at MBRSC, said the KhalifaSat’s launch is a historical moment for the UAE.
“The message is this is a celebration for the country. It’s the UAE saying we are now in a new league in space development, a space era in the UAE.
We are celebrating the name of our leader, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. His name will now be in space and this is something the whole UAE is proud of,” Al Sayegh told Gulf News ahead of the launch.
10 Facts about KhalifaSat:
1) What is KhalifaSat?
The KhalifaSat is the first 100 per cent Emirati-made satellite. It is an Earth Observation satellite that will orbit the Earth from pole to pole at a distance of 613km. It weighs roughly 330kg and measures 2 metres by 1.5 metres. It has a lifespan of five years.
2) How does the KhalifaSat work?
It is essentially a specialised camera in space powered by the sun. It’s like the Earth is taking high-resolution selfies continuously and the images are beamed back directly to the earth.
3) When will it be launched?
It will be launched on October 29 at 8.08am (UAE time) from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the JAXA Tanegashima Space Centre, an island to the south of Japan.
The launch vehicle is an H-IIA. During the launch, the H-IIA will carry two payloads: the KhalifaSat and JAXA’s Second Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite “IBUKI-2” (GOSAT-2)
4) Can you watch the launch?
The launch will be live-streamed on MBRSC’s YouTube channel. There will also be social media live coverage and live broadcast on TV channels.
5) What will happen during the launch?
The actual launch where the rocket leaves Earth and reaches space will take roughly 20 minutes. It will take approximately two hours to confirm successful separation and operation of the satellite from the launcher.
6) Where is the satellite placed inside the launch vehicle?
The satellite is secured inside the fairing, which is the top most part of the launcher. The fairing is a cover to protect payloads such as satellites inside from the external load, heat and extreme environment at lift-off and during flight.
7) What’s the first image that will be taken by KhalifaSat?
Amer Al Sayegh said the KhalifaSat will first be calibrated once in space and will take photos of designated calibration sites. The first official photo after the calibration, however, will be a surprise for everyone. He said it is a “unique place”.
8) Who manufactured KhalifaSat?
70 Emirati engineers, including fresh graduates, worked on the satellite at MBRSC.
9) What are the uses of KhalifaSat’s images?
Satellite imagery captured with a resolution of 70cm to all UAE Government entities and universities. Commercial use may be determined later as per the centre’s policy.
It can be used for urban planning, environmental studies, including detecting oil spills on land, monitoring land contamination, and provide support in disaster management.
10) If the launch fails, what will happen?
This is highly unlikely as the H-IIA launcher boasts of a high reliability of 97 per cent launch success rate. Officials said the KhalifaSat is fully insured and the space centre is capable of building another one should there be a problem.