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The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) have announced the successful launch of Nayif-1, the UAE's first nanosatellite launched into outer space.

The launch occurred at 7.58 in the morning (UAE local time). Nayif-1 takes on added importance as an educational project launched by MBRSC in cooperation with AUS with the goal of providing hands-on experience to Emirati engineering students on designing, building, testing and operating nanosatellites.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and general supervisor of all projects of the Centre and its strategic and development plans said that the large-scale space projects launched by the UAE are a testimony to the leadership’s determination to enhance the UAE’s contributions towards reviving Arab civilisation, which in the past achieved significant scientific breakthroughs.

He described the successful launch of Nayif-1 as an important step on the road towards implementing the UAE’s ambitious space programme.

“Yesterday we saw the launch of one of the most important space projects humanity has ever known, the ‘Mars 2117 Project’. This project reflects our leadership’s aim to make the UAE a pioneer in shaping humanity’s future and its determination to leave a positive mark on human development with innovative thinking and a determination to achieve success. With the launch of the new satellite, we are confident that we are on the right path for achieving new scientific breakthroughs with the efforts of UAE citizens.”

His Highness congratulated the team behind the successful launch of the satellite. He praised the role of the students participating in the project and wished them the best for their future. He stressed the importance of strengthening efforts to prepare national talent in the fields of space research to achieve the ambitious goals of the ‘Mars 2117 Project’.

Sheikh Hamdan further said that to achieve these great objectives, we should be open to all sources of specialised knowledge and closely follow the latest innovation in the field of space research.

The nanosatellite was launched on-board a PSLV-C37 rocket, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. On-board its rocket, this launch held around 104 satellites, making it historically the highest number of satellites to be launched together. Nayif-1 was the 5th satellite separated from the launch vehicle after the main payload.

The ground station, located at the AUS, received the first signal from Nayif-1 18 minutes and 32 seconds after it reached its orbit. A team of engineers from MBRSC, the students who participated in the project, as well as MBRSC’s knowledge transfer partners, Innovative Solutions in Space, were present at the ground station during launch and early operations. Nayif-1 will be operated and controlled from the ground station at AUS moving forward.