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Sun 29 Dec 2013 07:07 PM

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First 100% Emirati-built satellite to launch by 2017

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed launches project to build the Khalifa Sat

First 100% Emirati-built satellite to launch by 2017
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE will launch its first satellite built entirely by Emiratis by 2017, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Sunday.

Sheikh Mohammed, also vice president and prime minister of the UAE, launched the executive phases for building the Khalifa Sat, news agency WAM reported.

It will be the first satellite to be fully built and manufactured at the hands of UAE experts and is scheduled to be place in orbit by 2017.

Khalifa Sat will be the first Arab-made satellite, catapulting the Arab region into a new era of space industry and competition in space sciences, WAM said.

In launching the project at the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), Sheikh Mohammed said: "Khalifa Sat is a message to all Arabs that Arab ushering into the space era is neither out of reach nor impossible and our state will be a leader in this industry as long as we have the confidence and courage to enter into competition with major countries in this field.

"Our doors will remain open for cooperation with all Arab countries in space technology and engineering," he added.

"We are extremely delighted at seeing sons and daughters of the UAE forming the first Arab team to build a satellite and launch it into outer space in 2017... our confidence in them is boundless and our ambitions are the sky's the limit and success comes from Allah," Sheikh Mohammed said.

He said that he will personally follow up the Khalifa Sat work team, revealing that the government will embark on setting up similar teams in other fields.

At EIAST, a team of 45 engineers and experts are currently establishing advanced facilities and high-tech laboratories for building the satellite.

Last year, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) launched its second satellite Y1B into space.

The YahClick service will provide connectivity to remote and underserved areas across the region. Yahsat said it has established partnerships across 28 countries within the region, selecting communications companies to provide the service to customers.

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