Watch: Students in the United Arab Emirates begin work on an Earth observation satellite scheduled to launch by the end of the year


The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), in collaboration with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), on Monday announced the official start of work on the HCT-SAT 1 project, the student-led institution’s inaugural space mission.

The Earth observation CubeSat project, with a unit size of 1U (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm), is being developed by HCT students under the guidance of MBRSC engineers.

HCT students, from a variety of academic disciplines, are currently working in the laboratories of the MBRSC, initiating the development of HCT-SAT 1. This collaboration involves the Center’s engineers providing knowledge transfer and mentoring to students in all critical phases of the satellite life cycle, including design, development, assembly, testing and operational management.

The partnership between MBRSC and HCT encompasses not only the payload launch, but also extensive educational experience, providing expert training to both students and teachers and supporting the CubeSat curriculum.

It will see 34 male and female HCT students in various engineering disciplines, including aviation science, airframe design and electrical engineering, along with Applied Media students dealing with marketing aspects, working as a team cohesive interdisciplinary.

MBRSC also posted videos showing students’ work in their labs.

Ahmed Fahed Al Hamiri from the mechanical team said: “In the HCT-SAT 1 mission, our role includes developing the satellite structure. This involves designing it, performing pre- and post-manufacturing testing, and then submitting it to the MBRSC.”

Saif Khaled Ali of the main payload team said: “We conducted tests on the main payload, which is the camera, to evaluate the power consumption and thermal characteristics.”

Khouloud Mubarak of the electrical power subsystem team said: “Our main responsibility is to develop the electrical systems within the CubeSat that will supply power to the satellite using solar panels and a battery.”

Meanwhile, Mariam Salem Al Yousufi from the Telecommunications Team said: “I am involved in the development of the HCT-Sat 1 communication system, which plays a crucial role in ensuring communication between the satellite and the ground station.”

Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General of MBRSC, said: “By involving students in such high caliber projects, we are not only educating; We are inspiring a new generation to dream big and contribute to the UAE’s ambitious space exploration goals. “We are confident that this hands-on experience will equip our students with the necessary skills and knowledge to propel the UAE National Space Program to new heights.”

Dr. Faisal Alayyan, President and CEO of HCT, said: “This initiative is a key outcome of the partnership, designed to equip HCT students with advanced knowledge in space sciences. This collaboration underlines the importance of space research in driving human progress while raising awareness of the UAE’s strategic advancements and achievements in space exploration. “It is a critical component of the nation’s vision to achieve a leadership role in the highly competitive global space industry.”


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