Abu Dhabi: Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, have launched the execution phase of the Sirb satellite program, marking a historic moment in the development of the country’s space sector.
The Crown Princes received a comprehensive overview of the project objectives and the advanced technology planned for development in the satellite program. They were also briefed on the milestones of the project and the mechanisms for developing and operating the satellites by a national industrial consortium under the supervision of the UAE Space Agency.
The first satellite, to be launched in 2026, will complement the UAE’s investment in remote sensing technologies that serve different sectors using various satellite images. Radar satellites have the ability to capture images, day or night, and regardless of atmospheric conditions. This innovative project marks the pioneering development of a constellation composed of three synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, which uses cutting-edge imaging technology to achieve high-precision results in all weather conditions.
The project aims to enhance the UAE’s efforts to find solutions to the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability, contribute to urban development, integrate efforts to address natural disasters and support food security challenges, relying on domestic talent. qualified and UAE companies.
A central element of the Sirb program is the commercialization of the satellites and the data they generate, both on the national and international fronts. These high-precision space radar satellites will support a wide range of scientific and commercial applications, from monitoring environmental changes to managing and mapping natural disasters.
It also aims to foster partnerships with global institutions and offer incentives, as an extension of the Spatial Economic Zones project, to cement the UAE’s position as a global hub for talent, investment and innovation.
The United Arab Emirates as a global satellite hub
Sheikh Khaled said: “We will enhance local expertise in the field of space to support our ambitious vision of the UAE becoming a global hub for satellite manufacturing and operation. “We are focusing on creating opportunities for domestic companies and the private sector to be part of this important journey and support the development of space sector infrastructure.”
Sheikh Hamdan said: “Sirbi marks a strategic turning point in the UAE space sector, moving from a government and academic sector to an integrated government, private and academic sector that supports the development of microtechnology and promotes the industrial development of the UAE. space sector. Empowering startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs tops our priority list as they are the main drivers of economic growth.”
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and Chairperson of the UAE Space Agency, thanked Sheikh Khaled and Sheikh Hamdan for their continued support and vision in the space sector, as well as for overseeing the launch of the phase of implementation of the Sirb Programme, led by the industrial and private sectors of the United Arab Emirates, for the first time.
Sarah Al Amiri said: “The launch of the Sirb execution phase is a milestone in our space journey that embodies the determination and persistence of the United Arab Emirates to lead the comprehensive renaissance of the space sector in all its fields and sectors. Today, we chart a course aligned with the UAE’s unwavering commitment and tenacity to advance the space sector and ensure its prosperity and sustainability, with the strong support of our leadership.”
He added: “At the UAE Space Agency, we are committed to opening new horizons for local industry, developing Emirati talent and supporting domestic companies to ensure their contribution to the renaissance of comprehensive development and building a prosperous future for the UAE. “.
EDGE takes on the role of strategic partner to manage the program with additional focus on the development of the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) payload. Yahsat and Bayanat will manage satellite operations and data, while NSSTC will contribute by providing assembly, integration and test (AIT) operations.
The consortium will continue to expand its collaboration with other industry players, SMEs and startups to further enhance the program’s collective expertise and capabilities and support the growth of the private space sector.
EDGE will also work on developing strategic alliances for technology transfer, knowledge sharing and developing expertise in satellite systems, amplifying the UAE’s sovereign capabilities in crucial space domains, particularly SAR payloads.
This space program will strengthen the UAE’s position as a regional and global leader in space, while driving economic growth and technological innovation.