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Dubai launches first environmental satellite

DMSat-1 will monitor, collect, and analyze environmental data

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DMSat-1, Dubai's first nanometric environmental satellite, developed by Dubai Municipality in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), has reached its orbit 550 km above Earth, following its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz 2.1a space rocket.

The launch was supervised by a team of officials and engineers from MBRSC and Dubai Municipality.

The first signal from DMSat-1 was received at MBRSC’s mission control center at 4:42 pm on 22 March 2021, signaling that the satellite had reached its orbit and begun its scientific mission. Under the supervision of MBRSC, once the testing of onboard subsystems and instruments is completed and verified, the satellite will move into its operational phase, in which it will monitor, collect, and analyze environmental data as well as measure air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The satellite was manufactured and developed by the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) at the University of Toronto in Canada, and a team from MBRSC supervised the development and worked on the final testing of the satellite before being moved to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A second team of engineers and experts from MBRSC joined the base team to complete final functional testing and integration of the satellite with the launch vehicle. DMSat-1 carries state-of-the-art environmental monitoring equipment.

The data provided by the satellite will be used to find solutions and develop long-term plans to confront the challenges of urban pollution and climate change and explore the future environmental reality in Dubai and the UAE.

DMSat-1 confirms the UAE's commitment to the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for the provision of information and data on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as building national capacities in the field of studying and analyzing the phenomenon of global warming. The launch of the satellite is part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and contributes to the implementation of the national system for managing greenhouse gas emissions within the UAE National Plan for Climate Change 2017-2050.

The DMSat-1 satellite launch project is an exceptional opportunity to build new research and technical capabilities in the fields of environmental scientific research at the local level. It will also contribute to opening new horizons for harnessing space technology to serve the environmental sectors and achieve sustainability.

Weighing 15 kg, DMSat-1 carries instruments to monitor air quality and detect greenhouse gases as well as fine particles in the atmosphere. Data will be stored on the onboard storage system and downloaded to MBRSC’s ground station. Over a period of three to five days, the satellite will monitor a single site more than once from seven different angles.

It will orbit the earth 14 times a day and will pass over the MBRSC ground station four to five times a day to receive new imaging orders and enable downloading of data.