Thursday 1 October 2020
The UAE's MeznSat, a national project developed in partnership between the UAE Space Agency, the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), and Khalifa University (KU), has lifted off aboard a Soyuz-2b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.
A nanosatellite, MeznSat weighs around 2.7kg and measures 10cm x 10cm x 30cm. A team of KU postgraduate students and AURAK undergraduate students will monitor, process and analyze the data sent to the ground station at KU’s Yahsat laboratory and the supporting ground station at AURAK.
MeznSat aims to enrich scientific research and organize space-related activities while studying the greenhouse gas and red tide phenomena in the UAE's atmosphere.
Greenhouse gas concentrations, carbon dioxide and methane, will be detected using shortwave infrared spectrometry.
MeznSat is the 11th satellites launched by the UAE to develop national capabilities, to enhance scientific research activities, and to regulate the activities of the national space sector.
The new satellite is scheduled to reach orbit in November 2020, a month after its launch.
The processes and expertise involved in monitoring the atmosphere are similar to those employed during conventional earth observation programs.
The project will support young Emiratis in developing the skills necessary for the UAE’s ambitious National Space Program and its future projects.
Using a visible camera, as well as a shortwave infrared spectrometer, the satellite will measure the abundance and distribution of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
It will also provide valuable insight into the concentration of nutrients in the coastal waters of the Arabian Gulf, which will allow for more accurate predictions of algal blooms and support the timely implementation of relevant precautionary measures.