Dubai Crown Prince hails launch of UAE's first nanosatellite

Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the American University of Sharjah work on high-tech project

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) have announced the successful launch of Nayif-1, the UAE's first nanosatellite launched into outer space.

Nayif-1 is an educational project launched by MBRSC in cooperation with AUS with the goal of providing hands-on experience to Emirati engineering students on designing, building, testing and operating nanosatellites, a statement said.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of MBRSC described the launch of Nayif-1 as an important step on the road towards implementing the UAE’s ambitious space programme.

“On Tuesday we saw the launch of one of the most important space projects humanity has ever known, the ‘Mars 2117 Project’. This project reflects our leadership’s aim to make the UAE a pioneer in shaping humanity’s future and its determination to leave a positive mark on human development with innovative thinking and a determination to achieve success.

"With the launch of the new satellite, we are confident that we are on the right path for achieving new scientific breakthroughs with the efforts of UAE citizens.”

He also stressed the importance of strengthening efforts to prepare national talent in the fields of space research to achieve the ambitious goals of the Mars 2117 Project. 

The nanosatellite was launched on-board a PSLV-C37 rocket, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. On-board its rocket, this launch held around 104 satellites, making it the highest number of satellites to be launched together.

Nayif-1 was the 5th satellite separated from the launch vehicle after the main payload.

The ground station, located at the AUS, received the first signal from Nayif-1 18 minutes and 32 seconds after it reached its orbit.

Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of MBRSC, said: “The Nayif-1 project is only the first step in the MBRSC strategy geared towards introducing space projects for university students. This is best exemplified by Nayif-1, which is the first 1U nanosatellite that is programmed to transfer messages in Arabic.”

Nayif-1 will pass over the ground station around four times a day, twice in the morning and twice in the evening.

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