While the successful Emirati mission to Mars and the first Emirati astronaut grabbed the headlines, the UAE’s latest Dh3 billion space spending will significantly boost an area of less focus for the country’s space sector – satellite technology.
The UAE’s first space venture was Al Thuraya in 1975 for mobile satellite services, and through Al Thuraya, the UAE Space Program became a satellite operator in 1997. Now, the UAE operates nine satellites through three operators, aiming to open up the possibilities of mobile communications, as well as advanced remote sensing technology.
The satellite is also a way for the UAE to encourage and support young Emiratis in STEM subjects. The country’s global technology leaders are working with the government’s economic program – Tawazun Council to promote education and employment in space. This is achieved through training of UAE nationals through job placement programs in the field of radar, radio communications and even space.
Satellites continue to play a key role in the UAE’s 2030 National Space Strategy, but for reasons that may be more relevant than at first, satellites seem obvious. They play a key role in improving our daily lives, while also supporting the smooth functioning of vital sectors such as shipping, aviation, manufacturing, and more. how so? Below are three specific areas.
Tech-Driven Infrastructure Development Satellites provide businesses and governments with valuable insight and data through a technology called Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSar), which captures multiple images of the same area over miles of land. images. This can be used in many different ways, especially in terms of supporting infrastructure development of roads, buildings and pipelines.
The ability to take precise measurements could be used to alert governments to infrastructure deformations, and satellites with ground-based reflectors (also known as “persistent scatterers”) could be used to identify faults in man-made structures. This information forms an early warning system that helps keep the public safe during natural disasters and allows advanced risk management planning in the event of construction accidents, poor road maintenance and other similar infrastructure challenges.
Through the UAE’s AED3 billion Space Fund, the first investment has now gone into a constellation of imaging satellites using synthetic aperture radar technology to monitor land use, land surface change and urban planning. These small satellites are designed to be more powerful, flexible, developed faster, and can capture sharp images that traditional satellite imaging cannot.
This satellite technology, with its advanced optical sensors, can provide a day and night bird’s-eye view of infrastructure through fog and clouds, before any major disruption to human life or the surrounding environment.
Strengthen environmental protection
While the environmental changes around us are evident, there are also many pressing ecological dangers that are invisible to the naked eye. Satellites play a vital role in observing the environment and reporting detailed analyzes of previously unseen findings.
For example, the European Space Agency has developed the “Sentinel” series of satellites that can monitor land and sea in all weather conditions, fulfill meteorological and climatological missions, and monitor the global ocean.
The UAE has contributed to the fight against climate change by launching the country’s first environmental satellite. Developed in partnership between the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) and Dubai Municipality, the satellite monitors, collects and analyzes environmental data, including air pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Data collected through state-of-the-art satellite environmental monitoring equipment will be used to determine long-term plans to tackle the climate crisis and map the UAE’s future environmental landscape.
New and improved broadcast performance
Billions of people and companies rely on satellite infrastructure every day for entertainment, communication and information. The availability of Internet communication satellites has made it possible for almost universal access to Over the Top (OTT) streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, delivering high-speed, uninterrupted and fresh HD content to their viewers.
Traditional broadcasters are being forced to transition from a traditional operating model to a highly flexible system that delivers a variety of content to viewers at lightning speed, giving everyone a wider choice in what to watch.
As the UAE brings the government and private sector together to realize its ambitious space ambitions, investment in the latest satellite technology will continue to positively impact the lives of us all.
What’s next for the industry?
Transmitting quantum information using satellites is being actively pursued as one of the most effective ways to realize quantum communication in different ranges. Research is currently underway on quantum information networks that will unlock the potential of the field.
The industry has witnessed the rapid development of quantum computing and quantum sensing technologies, and for Thales this is just the beginning – we are shaping the quantum communication infrastructure of the future.