DEWA launches 1st nanosatellite to digitize electricity & water networks

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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State-owned utility service provider, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has launched the DEWA-SAT 1 nanosatellite in partnership with US-based NanoAvionics, making it the world’s first utility to deploy nanosatellites to enhance the maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks.

DEWA-SAT 1 was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex (SLC-40) in Florida, USA. This new achievement demonstrates DEWA’s leadership in developing and implementing cutting-edge technology.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, attended the launch along with officials from DEWA and NanoAvionics.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

“The program supports the National Space Strategy 2030 that aims to realize the UAE’s vision in space sciences, technologies, applications, and services. Today, DEWA, in collaboration with NanoAvionics, has launched the first U3 nanosatellite as part of the Space-D program that aims to improve the operations, maintenance, and planning of its networks with the support of nanosatellite technology, Internet of Things (IoT), and remote sensing technologies. The program also aims to train Emirati professionals to use space technologies to enhance its electricity and water networks and take advantage of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain to exchange information with the help of satellite communications and earth observation technologies.”

Mr. Al Tayer said that the nanosatellite was designed and developed at DEWA’s R&D Centre in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

The DEWA CEO further noted that DEWA-SAT 1 uses LoRa IoT communication technology, which is a new wireless protocol designed for long-range communications that consume less energy, to expand the coverage of the existing terrestrial communication network.

DEWA plans to launch another U6 nanosatellite later this year to increase its flexibility and agility in monitoring, managing and maintaining its electricity and water networks, according to Mr. Al Tayer.

Mr. Waleed Bin Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Excellence at DEWA commented that, “By deploying this infrastructure, DEWA seeks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its planning and operations, and enhance preventive maintenance at its production, transmission, distribution divisions as well as its smart grids, and electric vehicle charging stations.”

“Multi-spectrum, high-resolution thermal imaging devices such as those used onboard spacecraft, specifically designed for use in electricity and water networks, will be deployed to detect thermal fingerprints in high voltage transmission lines, substations, buildings, and solar power stations,” Mr. Salman further added.

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