Tuesday September 06, 2022

Sharjah Academy to launch its first mini satellite in December

Sharjah Academy to launch its first mini satellite in December

Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Ameer Al Sunni / WAM

The Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SASST) will launch Sharjah Sat 1, the first miniaturised satellite, through its CubeSat Laboratory on the Dec.6, 2022, Dr Hamid Majul Al Nuaimi, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah (UoS) and Director of SASST, revealed.

The satellite was designed by Emirati researchers and engineers from the UoS in co-operation with an international institution, Al Nuaimi said, noting that the satellite was manufactured and examined by eight professors and research students and negotiations are underway to carry it on a ‘space x’ missile. The UoS already obtained the approval of Sharjah Sat 1 from the Emirates Space Agency, he added.

The mission of Sharjah Sat 1 includes monitoring X-rays from very hot celestial bodies, enabling the astronomical phenomena related to those celestial bodies to be studied, he said.

At the same time, a radar-like station was designed to monitor and follow the launch of the satellite, he added, noting that the station was assembled and manufactured locally after importing some equipment.

Al Nuaimi explained that Sharjah Sat 1 is a modern and miniaturized satellite, compared to regular satellites; yet it can be used for accomplishing space and research missions due to the fact that it is equipped with communication equipment and sensors and weighs less than 4 kilograms.

As the satellite is a scientific and educational project, several workshops were organized for students of the College of Engineering and College of Sciences at the UoS, he said.

From a scientific point of view, the satellite will conduct a new study in space and astronomy sciences and will link coronal holes in the sun with the space weather of the Earth to understand their space impact. He added.

While the UoS and the SASST will continue to manufacture satellites, Sharjah Sat 2 will be manufactured and launched next year to study the Earth’s natural resources, he said.

The Sharjah Sat-1 project is in line with the UAE’s national agenda in developing its space sector. It is also following the vision set for SAASST by its founder, His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah.

He founded SAASST as a national development project and research centre that seeks to serve and educate society in all areas of space science. The academy’s goal is to become a world leader in space sciences and technology research while establishing the UAE as a scientific centre in the Arab Gulf region and the world.

On the other hand, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company recently announced its financial results for the six-month period ended 30th June 2022, recording its highest ever first-half revenue.

The company reported revenue of Dhs755 million ($206 million), up 8.1% year-on-year, underpinned by double-digit growth in Managed Solutions and Mobility Solutions.

The Adjusted EBITDA increased by 5.3% year-on-year to Dhs448 million ($122 million), delivering a robust margin of 59.3%.

Yahsat reported a net income of Dhs167 million ($45 million), up 50.7% year-on-year, driving a strong net margin of 22.1%. The contracted future revenue of more than Dhs7.7 billion ($2.1 billion), equivalent to 5.2 times FY2021 annual revenue.

The company has a strong financial position, high visibility on future cash flows, as well as an underpin ability to invest in growth and sustain an attractive dividend policy.

Yahsat is on track to grow FY2022 dividend by at least 2% to 16.12 fils ($4.39 cents) per share or Dhs393 million ($107 million), split into two equal instalments payable around October 2022 and May 2023.

Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chairman of Yahsat, commented, “Against a backdrop of challenging global economic headwinds, we are delighted to record our highest ever first-half revenue whilst significantly growing Adjusted EBITDA and net income. This reflects the strength of our business underpinned by strong contracted future revenue and positive momentum across operating segments.

“In light of our strong year-to-date performance, the Board of Directors’ confidence in future cash flow generation, ability to grow the business and financial strength of the Company, we are reiterating our commitment to deliver attractive shareholder returns.”

Ali Al Hashemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Yahsat, said, “Our contracted future revenue exceeds Dhs7.7 billion, equivalent to 5.2 times FY2021 annual revenue. Looking ahead, we remain on track to bring into commercial service our Next Generation Satellite, Thuraya 4-NGS, in the second half of 2024, whilst two new satellites, Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5, are under consideration for launch in 2026.

“We remain very confident in both our short-term and long-term outlook, and have accordingly increased the lower end of our revenue guidance for FY2022, whilst reiterating our commitment to pay a progressive dividend.”

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