By Andy Sambidge
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd wins contract to launch KhalifaSat which is currently being built in the UAE
The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) has hired Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) for the launch of its landmark KhalifaSat project.
KhalifaSat will be the most advanced satellite ever created for the UAE and the first to be conceptualised and built by a team of Emirati engineers.
It will be launched on MHI's H-IIA launch vehicle together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) GOSAT-2, a satellite tasked to observe the progression of greenhouse gases on Earth.
KhalifaSat represents advancements in space technology and the development of Emirati knowledge and skills gained from EIAST's earlier projects DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, a statement said.
First developed at long-term partners South Korea's Satrec Initiative's facilities in Daejon, KhalifaSat is currently in the advanced stages towards the completion of construction at EIAST's own satellite manufacturing facilities.
Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of EIAST, said: "From conceptualisation to its actual launch, KhalifaSat is a very important project that will have a huge impact not only on the future of space technology in the region but also on the overall national development of the UAE.
"Looking back on MHI's past projects, and especially its achievements with the high-performance H-IIA launch vehicle, we are assured of a successful and lasting collaboration with a company with one of the world's highest launch success rates."
Since launching a national program for the development of space rockets in 1975, Japan has relied heavily on MHI on various aspects from manufacture to actual satellite launches.
EIAST was established by the Dubai Government in 2006 to encourage scientific innovation and technological progress in Dubai and in the UAE. It also aims to develop the scientific skills and knowledge of Emiratis.
It is mainly involved in space research and development, satellite manufacturing and systems development, space imaging, and ground station services and support for other satellites.