Irshad Salim (BE2C2 Report) — UAE’s first nanosatellite developed by the students at American University of Sharjah in partnership with The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center has been successfully launched in outer space.
Nayif-1’s main mission objective is to send and receive messages on Amateur Radio Frequencies and will produce a communication footprint of 5,000 km.
The UAE CubeSat boasts a number of advances features, most notably that it is programmed to transfer messages in Arabic. It also holds an Active Control System Board that has not been launched into space before.
The first Emirati nanosat named Nayif-1 is also carrying the first Arabic poem ever to be sent to space. “I picked three lines from a poem composed by one of the UAE’s most famous poets, Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi, better known as Fatat Al Arab, that I felt captured the sentiments and the journey of Nayif,” said Ibrahim Al Qasim, project supervisor and manager of strategic research at MBRSC to The National newspaper of UAE.
Nayif – meaning high, lofty and mighty – will carry these words: “I will ascend to the peaks of greatness, and will not descend. Next to the tall and noble one, who is beautiful in looks. Nayif, whose fate is to be Nayif, and all the Arabs desire and accept him.”
The 10 cubic centimeters Nanosat weighing about 1 kilogram will be operated and controlled from a ground station at the university campus in Sharjah.
Four of the seven engineering students who worked on the Nanosat has been selected to join the MBRSC team to work on the Emirates Mars Mission 2117, Hope Mission to the Red Planet in 2021, and KhalifaSat – due for launch in 2018. These students majored in fields including electrical, mechanical and computer engineering.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE, the Mars Mission 2021 will make the UAE the first Arab country to reach the Red Planet.
MBRSC is spearheading implementation of the UAE’s strategy to build national human capabilities in the emirates’ universities and providing training on satellite manufacturing technology and beyond including the Mars Mission 2117 for establishing a ‘mini-city’ on the Red Planet.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of MBRSC and general supervisor of all projects of the Center and its strategic and development plans described the successful launch of Nayif-1 as an important step on the road towards implementing the UAE’s ambitious space program.
“Yesterday 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,” the Crown Prince of Dubai said.
The nanosatellite was launched on-board a PSLV-C37 rocket, from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. On-board its rocket, this launch held around 104 satellites, making it historically 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. A team of engineers from MBRSC, the students who participated in the project, as well as MBRSC’s knowledge transfer partners, Innovative Solutions in Space, were present at the ground station during launch and early operations.