UAE collaborates with Airbus to build satellites at Al Ain

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Tawazun Economic Council Image
Representational Image

The Abu Dhabi headquartered Tawazun Economic Council, has announced that it would set up a satellite assembly, integration and testing center (AIT) in Al Ain.

It would collaborate with the European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus and the UAE University’s National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC).

The AIT Satellite Center, which is set to begin its operations in early 2021 will develop small to medium-sized communication, navigation, and hyper spectral satellites which will weigh between 50 kilograms to 250 kilograms.

Airbus, the world’s largest airline manufacturer will handle the procurement, installation and operational approval required for the equipment required for the venture.

The first two projects will be funded by the UAE Space Agency. It will be completed under the NSSTC operation and management.

The first project aims to build a satellite that will improve navigational capabilities for the UAE while the second will be the Arab 813 Satellite, from the first pan Arab space group that will monitor climate change.

Matar Ali Al Romaithi “The UAE is building and acquiring the knowledge required to become a regional hub for space activities and advanced research and development.”
Matar Ali Al Romaithi
Chief Economic Development Officer

These ventures are currently underway with Airbus’ support and will be completed at the new facilities. The UAE’s space industry currently employs 3,000 people across 50 space-related institutions, five space-related research and development centers and three space-related universities that offer space degrees.

22 out of the 32 new jobs created by this project will be for UAE nationals. Training and significant transfer of know-how will be carried out both locally and at the Airbus facilities in France.

UAE will soon have a fully autonomous AIT satellite capability, said Dr Khaled Al Hashmi, director of NSSTC.