Dubai: The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) today announced the successful launch of the first mission of the Payload Hosting Initiative (PHI), with the PHI-Demo satellite now in orbit.
At 3:34 PM UAE time today, the PHI-Demo satellite aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket has lifted off from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome. All mechanical components of this pioneering project, the first of its kind in the Arab world, were built in the UAE in partnership with the private sector.
The satellite will be positioned at an altitude of approximately 550 km and will be operated by laboratories of MBRSC and partner universities – American University of Ras Al Khaimah and Khalifa University.
Together with a 100% UAE team, MBRSC built the ‘platform’, the shell of the PHI-Demo satellite that carries the payload. The product of local innovation and skills, this carefully designed project in the UAE is the backbone of the pioneering PHI programme. The project, jointly led by MBRSC and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), heralds a new era of international cooperation in space exploration, promoting the sustainable development of innovative space technologies.
Reflecting on the achievement, MBRSC Director General Salem Humaid AlMarri said: “The successful launch of PHI-Demo, a satellite built entirely in the UAE, marks an important milestone in our nation’s space journey. Milestone. This milestone is a testament to our strong commitment and growing capabilities in space technology.”
He added: “At MBRSC, our vision includes nurturing an ecosystem of innovation and excellence, where collaboration with the private sector helps foster knowledge exchange, facilitate breakthrough discoveries, and nurture the next generation of Emirati space pioneers. As we move forward , we will continue to be guided by our spirit of innovation and our firm determination to advance our nation’s role in global space exploration and technology development.”
The state-of-the-art 12U modular satellite platform hosts two partner technology payloads, including an advanced IoT communications payload developed by OQ Technology, a UAE-based start-up under MBRSC’s Space Ventures programme, which Data collection will be achieved utilizing state-of-the-art 5G technology for transmission from IoT devices. The satellite is also equipped with a revolutionary green propulsion subsystem developed by UK-based SteamJet, which uses water as the primary propellant, embodying a sustainable approach to space propulsion.
The PHI-Demo satellite, scheduled to operate for one year, will make a significant contribution to the evolving space technology and reinforce MBRSC’s commitment to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and technological innovation. The successful launch further lays the groundwork for an exciting new chapter in space exploration, reinforcing the UAE’s position as a pioneer of innovation and growth in space technology.
Over the next few days, the MBRSC team will launch, activate and test the payload as it operates over the UAE. MBRSC, in partnership with Khalifa University and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, will conduct the command operation, which will be handled through a ground station on the university’s campus and led by the university’s faculty.
Zakaria Al Shamsi, Program Manager, Payload Hosting Program, MBRSC, said: “The successful launch of PHI-Demo and its advanced payload is a testament to the dedication and expertise of our UAE engineers. The experience and experience gained from the development and launch of PHI-Demo Insights give us a deep understanding of the challenges we face and the strategies to overcome them. This knowledge, combined with our unwavering determination, gives us tremendous confidence in our readiness for future missions.”