UAE’s Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the UAE Space Agency (UAESA), and Al Yah Satellite Communications (YahSat) have agreed to collectively invest in establishing and operating the Khalifa University Space Technology and Innovation Centre (KUSTIC).
The main objectives of KUSTIC will be to;
- Build capabilities and create a technical space hub through training UAE students in satellite design and manufacturing,
- Conduct scientific research in space sector and applications,
- Develop satellite manufacturing capabilities in the UAE,
- Promote and inspire entrepreneurship in the space sector,
- Support space science and technology initiatives of the UAE Space Agency, and
- Focus on the design and assembly/integration/testing of small satellites through the Yahsat Space Lab.
The institution will aim to achieve the UAE’s vision in space exploration, technologies, and applications. It will play a crucial role in building capabilities and creating a technical hub by training UAE students in satellite design and manufacturing, conducting scientific research in the space sector and applications, and developing satellite manufacturing capabilities in the UAE. It will also promote and inspire entrepreneurship in the space sector; while supporting space science and technology initiatives of the UAE Space Agency.
The Center will merge the existing YahSat Space Lab (YSL), which was established in 2017 as the nationwide focal point in the design and Assembly/Integration/Testing (AIT) of CubeSats, both in terms of facilities and of expertise. YSL which produced and successfully launched the UAE’s first imaging CubeSat in 2018 will facilitate all small satellite design, AIT and manufacturing activities of the new facility.
According to the mutual agreement, KUSTIC will particularly empower the development of various research thrusts covering major aspects of space mission development. The projects and initiatives will benefit the UAE and contribute to key sectors of the national economy.
The center will be an important partner in raising awareness about the space sector among the Emirati youth, and the importance of their role in the advancement of national research and development. Moreover, in addition to focusing on the design and Assembly/Integration/Testing (AIT) of small satellites, the Center will aim to establish components, assemblies and subsystem manufacturing capabilities.
Two already existing Khalifa University research centers will contribute to KUSTIC’s activities. The ‘space robotics’ research thrust shall be covered under the leadership of the research staff from the KU Centre for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS) while the ‘space power’ and ‘energy storage’ research thrust shall be covered under the leadership of KU Advanced Power and Energy Center (APEC), another existing research center.