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  • Nov 20, 2023

Space And Technology News – Abu Dhabi, 5 August 2020: Tawazun Economic Council (Tawazun) has partnered with Airbus and UAE University’s National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) to build and develop a satellite assembly, integration and test (AIT) centre. manufacture components and assemble, integrate and test small and medium satellites.

The AIT Satellite Center will develop and deploy communications, navigation and hyperspectral satellites from 50 to 250 kilograms and is expected to begin operations in early 2021.

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The center will be located at NSSTC’s facility in Al Ain and Airbus will support NSSTC during the design, equipment and operation of the facility. Airbus will also manage the procurement, installation and operational activities required for the equipment.

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This partnership was created and facilitated by Tawazun as part of a key role in the industry dedicated to driving the defense and security ecosystem together, enabling and promoting technology development, and developing national skills and competencies in the UAE.

Matar Ali Al Romaithi, Tawazu’s Director of Economic Development, said: “This is our second project after Space and there are many more projects in the pipeline as Tawazu works to further develop the UAE’s space sector.” “The UAE is building and acquiring the knowledge it needs to become a center for space activities and leading research and development. This center is an integral part of these plans and is therefore intended to be permanent for the next five to seven years to ensure that Tawaz operates as a sustainable resource.”

“We also value the stability of the Airbus hub and its significant contribution to increasing and growing our resources and expertise in the Emirates. NSSTC will create significant Airbus knowledge through this project and our skills and national capabilities will be significantly enhanced,” Al Romaithi added. .

“The aerospace industry is an important and strategic sector for the UAE, as it enables the development of high-level skills and drives innovation,” said Airbus President Africa and Middle East.

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“Airbus is committed to supporting the advancement of all key elements of the UAE’s aerospace industry. For many years, we have worked closely with the country’s leading industrial organizations to create new technology solutions and provide global knowledge and expertise to local talent. and will support the future growth of the satellite industry, contributing to the country’s economic diversification strategy. It will also support efforts around the Emirates that will be critical to ensuring the long-term sustainable development of the industry,” Houari added.

Today, the UAE’s space industry provides 3,000 jobs in 50 space-related organizations, space research and development centers and three universities offering space degrees. This new project will create 32 new jobs (at least 22 of which will be UAE nationals) with substantial training and education at Airbus facilities in France and locally.

Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, Said Ahmed Gobash, said that scientific research with Tawazun is important, which is in line with the vision and strategic direction of the university. The NSSTC is an organization established by the UAE University in association with the UAE Space Agency, and Chancellor Gobash said the UAE’s commitment to excellence has earned it a reputation and reputation among national, regional and international institutions.

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“This is in line with the UAE government’s vision to achieve the goals of the national agenda through the implementation of modern sustainable development projects.” Chancellor Gobash said: “The UAE has special scientific and technical opportunities that allow us to be aware of global trends in applied scientific research, the fourth industrial revolution, the requirements of artificial intelligence and science and technology, and the work of the university contributes to the development of education based and digital economy.”

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“Part of NSSTC’s mandate is to develop satellite AIT capabilities, and we are pleased to establish this partnership with Tawazun and Airbus to achieve this goal,” said Dr. Khalid Al Hashmi, director of NSSTC. “The UAE will soon have a fully autonomous AIT satellite capability, which will benefit the country’s satellite programs and further develop the country’s space-related capabilities. The NSSTC will become a hub for the integration of Airbus expertise. Support the UAE’s space industry.”

The UAE Space Agency is funding the first two projects to be completed under the management and operation of NSSTC. The first project will be a satellite that will enhance the navigation capabilities of the United Arab Emirates, and the second will be the Arab 813 satellite (a project announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Arab Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai). Two projects are currently underway with Airbus support and will be completed in new facilities. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo landing. This was made possible by the extraordinary acceleration of space technology. Shortly before the event, engineers had mastered rocket propulsion, on-board computing, and space operations, thanks in part to an unlimited budget.

Since the early days of this heroic effort, space engineering has grown into a group of interrelated technologies that enable new space science missions, Earth observation data streams, and global communications services and navigation systems. We can now probe comets and look further back than ever before. But what about the future: what new technologies could help transform the space industry in the coming decades, and how?

One promising area in recent years has been the expansion and downsizing of space technology. Through a ten-year research program recently launched with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering, our team is beginning to explore even more possibilities at the extreme end of the spacecraft’s length. We believe it is an unexplored area for mission design that can generate new ideas for the future. Miniaturization

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Miniaturization of the technology has allowed for different spacecraft sizes, such as the small 100 kg satellite used for the Disaster Monitoring Team, which consists of a coordinated array of different satellites. There are even compact 30x10x10cm CubeSats, satellites weighing a few kilograms, that can carry various payloads. They are often used for Earth observation or low-cost science experiments, as most of them can be flown as secondary payloads alongside larger satellites.

We aim to abandon space technology by at least one order of magnitude. It will start with 3×3 cm printed circuit board (PCB) satellites and move to more compact devices. In-orbit demonstrations of these satellites have already been conducted. Take the Sprite device, for example, which weighs just four grams despite onboard sensors, communications and data processing.

These devices are already installed outside the International Space Station. More recently, the KickSat-2 mission placed 105 Sprite devices, which cost less than $100, into orbit beyond Earth. Signals were received from the devices a day after they were deployed, raising hopes that the devices could one day perform new tasks in space.

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Our goal is to build free-flying devices that can control their trajectory and orbit in space. This will enable the deployment of a large number of sensors that can be used for distributed sensor networks, enabling large-scale real-time data collection, including space weather monitoring. Looking ahead, even smaller devices could lead to highly integrated mass-produced satellites on a single silicon wafer.

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One exciting possibility is to connect such small spacecraft to large light sails and fly them closer to other solar systems within a few decades. It can also be used for large-scale detection around comets or asteroids.

There is also growth at the other end of the size spectrum. Large 30-meter-tall deployment rods are already in use on the International Space Station to support solar panels. Here, our goal is to create large, lightweight structures in orbit, at least an order of magnitude larger. 3D printing technology can be made to work in vacuum and microgravity. We believe that this approach could enable the fabrication of ultra-large antennas, energy collectors or solar reflectors.

But why do we need these structures? Take the James Webb Space Telescope, the soon-to-be successor to the successful Hubble Space Telescope. It has a large main sunshield with a shield the size of a professional tennis court. It consists of segments where the main mirror and sun visor are placed to incorporate this technology into the Ariane 5 rocket. They then require a complex sequence of separate launches to fire once in space or fail the mission.

The ability to produce large, lightweight structures directly in orbit could have a major impact on space technology.

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