Space diplomacy: UNOOSA and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center announce payload program winners

Space diplomacy: UNOOSA and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center announce payload program winners

UNOOSA and MBRSC are providing payload hosting on the Bin Rashid Space Center satellite platform through the PHI program. Developing countries have an important opportunity to demonstrate new technologies and build capacity through the program. It promotes capacity building and space science and technology in developing countries.

For Salem Humaid AlMarri, director general of the MBRSC, this cooperation has made “enormous progress” since the initial announcement of the PHI programme. The PHI-1 mission will seek to provide more such opportunities to all entities that possess valuable scientific innovations to test them in space, according to AlMarri. AlMaari said this initiative “really demonstrates how, with everyone’s efforts and participation, we can make progress in space exploration.”

UNOOSA Acting Director Niklas Hedman called the Access to Space for All initiative “groundbreaking for building 21st century capacity in space science and technology”. Hedman is grateful for the support of UNOOSA partners, through which a “real difference for teams and institutions around the world” is being made. Hedman said he was already looking forward to seeing “results from the PHI program that boost the space sector in Bahrain and Nepal.”

MBRSC will provide a spacecraft platform, launch and ground station for the PHI-1 mission, carrying the payload from Bahrain and Nepal. UNOOSA and MBRSC will continue to provide such opportunities to host payloads on future PHI missions.

Payloads from Bahrain and Nepal

The two payloads on board the PHI-1 mission are from the National Space Science Agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain (NSSA) and Antarikchya Pratisthan University Nepal.

Developed by a Bahraini team, the “AMAN” payload will test an optimized advanced encryption standard, which will ensure secure communication between the satellite and the ground station.

Mohamed Al-Aseeri, Director General of NSSA, expressed his gratitude and honor for the “Aman” project selected by UNOOSA and MBRSC in the first round of the PHI initiative. Aman is considered the first Bahraini payload fully designed, integrated and tested by the NSSA. For Al-Aseeri, this opportunity is unprecedented in “Bahrain’s quest to contribute significantly to the global effort towards the sustainable and peaceful use of outer space and the strengthening of national capacities in the spatial domain”.

Focusing on system behavior and operation, Nepal’s “Danfe Space Mission” will study PX4 Autopilot, a middleware for drones in space. Teams from both countries will gain hands-on experience, knowledge and skills in space technology through the payloads.

Abhas Maskey, the founder of Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal expressed his wish for Nepal to progress “as a space nation” and the need for Nepal to seize all available opportunities to develop self-reliance, perform and build capacity for the ‘space. Maskesy strongly believes that Nepal’s involvement in PHI-1 will be a small step towards potential future collaboration, especially to one day launch Nepal’s first astronaut into space by 2050. Maskey said, “Space is the new limit, even for Nepal”.

Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, known as “MBRSC”, is a government agency in the Emirate of Dubai that manages much of the UAE’s space program, including the UAE astronaut program and the al – Amal Mars. The space center is based in the al-Khwaneej 1 district of Dubai, and its managing director since January 20, 2022 is Salem Humaid al-Marri.

The Center builds and operates satellites that provide satellite imagery and data analysis services to customers around the world. The satellites were developed by a team of Emirati engineers in the United Arab Emirates. The Center also launched the Emirates Mars Mission Hope Probe, which is the first Arab interplanetary mission to reach Mars orbit on February 9, 2021.


Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center

National Space Science Agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain

Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal

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