Dubai, UAE, February 8, 2017: The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) have announced that the launch of the nanosatellite Nayif-1 will occur between the 14th and 25th February 2017, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, on board a PSLV-C37 rocket. Nayif-1 is expected to be launched on the morning of 15th February, if all logistics are intact and ideal weather conditions prevail, to ensure a successful launch into space. Currently, a team of specialists at MBRSC and AUS are working to ascertain the readiness of the ground station located at the university, from which the satellite will be operated and controlled after its launch.
Nayif-1’s main mission objective is to send and receive messages on Amateur Radio frequencies. The nanosatellite boasts a number of advanced 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.
Commenting on setting the launch date, H.E. Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of MBRSC, said that he is very proud of the Emirati students who participated in all phases of developing Nayif-1 until now, where it is ready for launch into space. He also pointed out that four of the student that worked on Nayif-1 have been selected to join the MBRSC team to work on the Emirates Mars Mission- Hope mission and KhalifaSat project.
Al Shaibani said that the educational CubeSat project, Nayif-1, represents an important step that is in line with the MBRSC strategy aiming to building national human capacities in the UAE universities and providing training on satellite manufacturing technology. He pointed out that the Centre will focus in the future on training other students on how to manage and operate the ground station, communicate with the satellite to transmit and receive messages, as well as using data in new scientific experiments, such as studying the motion of the satellite in space.
“This kind of space project is of a high priority for government and educational institutions worldwide, because it provides extensive knowledge to researchers, as well as the basics of satellite manufacturing and space system testing. Over the past two years, we began to establish CubeSat manufacturing technology in the UAE, to be used in environmental and development-related fields which are of interest to the community,” he added.
“The Centre aspires to building a sustainable future for the satellite industry in the UAE, and we count on our youth to provide solutions and innovations that are conducive to sector growth, and lead to gaining a competitive edge worldwide,” Al Shaibani concluded.
Dr. Bjorn Kjerfve, Chancellor of AUS saidæ “We look forward to the launch of the nanosatellite Nayif-1 with great anticipation. Developed by Emirati engineering graduates from AUS under the supervision of a team of engineers and specialists from MBRSC, this project reflects the commitment of our university towards research and innovation in fields that will play a significant role in the future of the country,” he added.
Nayif-1 has been tested on ground and has successfully passed all tests on its subsystems, such as the power and control subsystems, satellite antenna and communication subsystem. These tests were followed by the full system environmental tests, including thermal and vibration tests.
The knowledge transfer programme and the project were implemented in partnership with Innovative Solutions in Space, one of the leading companies worldwide in the development of space components and NanoSatellite Systems. MBRSC took the role of the integrator in the process and ensured that all necessary processes were in place to preserve and build upon the experience gained.