Engineers of the Bahrain Space Team together with space engineer from the UAE Space Agency and Khalifa University cooperated in designing and developing “DhabiSat”, a micro-satellite, which could not have been completed without the support of Yahsat Satellite Communications, in the United Arab Emirates, and Northrop Grumman International. The satellite is scheduled to be launched from the Wallops Flight Centre in Virginia, US, to the International Space Station on Saturday, 20 February 2021.
The main task of DhabiSat is to design and develop software related to control and directional systems, which will be evaluated by taking pictures, by using a digital camera installed on the satellite, after the satellite is directed on specific paths.
Engineers Aysha Al-Haram and Yaqoub Al-Qassab from Bahrain’s NSSA participated in programming the control system and determining directions using the C programming language, which was made at the Khalifa University Centre for Space Technology and Innovation. This program is considered to be the first one working in space that was developed by Bahraini engineers. It aims at enhancing the accuracy of satellite positioning by using direction-finding algorithms and control systems.
Members of the Bahrain Space Team also participated, as a part of their training program at Khalifa University, in the design and development stages of DhabiSat and in a number of other satellites. They also took part in the assembly and integration phase, the testing phase and the readiness review. The team participated in satellite environment tests, such as vibration and heat tests. The team also participated in reviewing the mission’s readiness for launch after ensuring the safety of all electrical, control and communication systems, in addition to testing the functions of the moon using the ground station operating system at the Khalifa University Centre for Space Technology and Innovation.
On this achievement, Dr. Mohamed E. Al-Aseeri, CEO of NSSA, said, “Bahrain has the right to be proud of these elite of its citizens who have distinguished themselves in one of the fields of future science and have become praised by several international bodies specializing in space applications. Today, they achieve the first program on satellite control by using a genuine satellite to be launched into the space. They add their names to a list of distinguished people and raise the name of Bahrain higher, achieving a scientific achievement that is the first of its kind in the Kingdom of Bahrain, space and its various sciences”. He added, “It is also a matter of pride that women and men have equal participation in this achievement, which confirms NSSA’s keenness to support all its members to participate in national development in the service of the Kingdom of Bahrain and to achieve its prosperity and progress”.
Dr. Al-Aseeri concluded by extending his sincere thanks and gratitude to the UAE Space Agency and Khalifa University for their unlimited support to NSSA in the form of opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills in the space sector, which reflects the strength of the relations between the two countries and the two brotherly peoples.
Aerospace engineer Aysha Al-Haram said, “Working within the satellite control system programming team, DhabiSat, was an outstanding experience despite its challenges”. She gained experience in control system programming and directional identification. “I am proud that this program will be tested in space, and, in the event of success, it will be used as a reference for satellite control systems”. She emphasized, “This achievement, which I am proud of, is a product of NSSA administration’s faith in the young Bahraini competencies, providing them with all kinds of support and overcoming the difficulties they face, for they have all our thanks and appreciation”.
Aerospace engineer Yaqoub Al-Qassab said, “The satellite control system is considered to be one of the most complex systems, and I feel proud to be one of the members of the control system programming team in DhabiSat. Favour goes to NSSA for its continuous encouragement and support of Bahraini capabilities and for giving us this opportunity to join the cooperation program with the Emirates Space Agency and Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates”.