First MENA Environmental satellite launched by the UAE

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The satellite launch plays a role in both the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the Clean Energy Strategy 2050, while also contributing to implementing a system to manage greenhouse gas emissions as part of the UAE National Plan for Climate Change 2017-2050.

UAE’s DMSat-1 environmental satellite blasts off from Russia’s Baikonour Space Base on Match 22 (social media)

LONDON -  DMSat-1, the first environmental satellite of MENA, was launched Monday March 22 in a project between the Dubai Municipality and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).

The state-of-the-art satellite could be key to developing environmental policies, as it will undertake monitoring, collecting and analysing environmental data, allowing it to measure greenhouse gases and air pollutants over the region. This data will then be used to develop long-term plans to help Dubai address climate change and urban pollution, permitting better environmental forecasting. The data will also allow for the development of maps on the distribution and concentration of the greenhouse gases in addition to studying and monitoring the seasonal changes of the gasses.

It was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, aboard the Soyuz 2.1a space rocket at 10:07am UAE time. At 4:42pm, MBRSC received the first signal, confirming the satellite had reached its orbit and its scientific mission was now underway.

Following the completion and verification of testing the onboard instruments and subsystems performed by MBRSC, its operational phase will begin.

Space Flight Laboratory at Canada’s University of Toronto manufactured and developed the satellite under the supervision of a team sent by MBRSC, who also worked on the final testing of the satellite before it was moved to the Cosmodrome. There, a second team of MBRSC’s engineers and experts joined the base team to complete the final functional testing and the launch vehicle integration.

The DMSat-1 confirms the commitment the UAE has made to the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement, an agreement that calls for providing data and information on greenhouse gas emissions in addition to furthering the ability to study and analyse global warming at a national level.

The satellite launch, the emirate’s fourth, plays a role in both the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, while also contributing to implementing a system to manage greenhouse gas emissions as part of the UAE National Plan for Climate Change 2017-2050.

Director of Dubai Municipality, Dawoud Hajir, spoke at the launch “DMSat-1 is an embodiment of the will to excel that characterises the UAE. Guided by the wisdom of our leadership, our national space programme has been able to engage in qualitative areas and enhance its contributions to human civilisation.”

He added that the team behind the project are UAE nationals who all have high levels of knowledge and skills. He believes that DMSat-1 will strengthen the UAE’s experience in the satellite field, enhancing the achievements in satellite technology  as well as space, while supporting the national aspirations and the goal of becoming a major player in the field.

MBRSC’s chairman, Hamad Obaid Mansoori, built upon what Hajir said “The DMSat-1 satellite constitutes a new impetus for the UAE to achieve its developmental strategies and make it the leading country in the world capable of using the latest global technologies to build sustainable cities. The satellite will contribute to providing accurate scientific information that helps decision-makers take necessary measures to improve the environment.”

The DMSat-1 Programme Director and Senior Director of the remote sensing department at MBRSC, Andan AlRais, said “The launch of the DMSat-1 satellite will bring about a fundamental shift in the field of obtaining environmental data in the country and the region, as it contains the latest technologies in the field of monitoring air pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

Weighing in at only 15KG,  the DMSat-1 will use its instrument to gather data, which will be kept on the storage system on the satellite, which MBRSC’s ground station will download remotely.

A single site will be monitoring the satellite every three to five days at seven different angles. The satellite is orbiting the earth 14 times a day, with four to five of those passing over the ground station to allow data to be downloaded and new imaging orders to be uploaded.

Omar El-Huni is a contributor to The Arab Weekly on environmental issues. He is a graduate of the University of Reading on environmental matters. 

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