Bayanat and Yahsat, two leading companies in the UAE’s satellite industry, have announced the expansion of their Earth Observation (EO) space program. The program will now include seven synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, an increase from the initial five. ICEYE, a global leader in SAR satellite development, will provide the necessary technology, training, and expertise for the expansion.
The expansion of the satellite constellation will result in more frequent revisits to the Middle East, allowing Bayanat and Yahsat to offer near real-time, high-definition images of on-the-ground conditions. These images, obtained using radar signals, can monitor specific locations on the Earth’s surface day and night, regardless of clouds, and multiple times per day. This capability is crucial for government and business customers as it enables them to detect detailed changes on the ground.
The SAR satellite images have numerous applications across sectors such as insurance, national security, and climate change monitoring. They can be used to identify oil spills, monitor maritime activities like illegal fishing, and conduct surveillance at ports, among other uses.
The decision to expand the satellite fleet is seen as a significant milestone for both Bayanat and the UAE. It is part of the country’s efforts to develop its domestic SAR satellite industry, diversify the economy, generate high-tech jobs, and strengthen strategic independence.
Yahsat, known for its satellite communications infrastructure covering 80% of the world’s population, will play a critical role in the partnership. The company’s extensive experience and capabilities will contribute to the development of satellite imaging and Earth observation capabilities.
As part of the program, Bayanat and Yahsat have already launched their own satellite radar imaging service using ICEYE’s fleet. The service, which provides customer-ready commercial services, has become operational just months after the program’s announcement.
ICEYE, a Finnish company, has deployed 31 SAR satellites since 2018. Its superior technology allows for various levels of surface imaging, ranging from ground resolution of 50 centimeters to expansive views up to 50,000 square kilometers.
The expanded collaboration between ICEYE, Bayanat, and Yahsat reflects the UAE’s commitment to developing its space capabilities and becoming a producer of space technology. The partnership goes beyond hardware and aims to support the growth of the space sector in the UAE.
Overall, the expansion of the Earth Observation space program will enhance the UAE’s leadership in the space sector and contribute to the implementation of the country’s space strategy. It will also deliver advanced geospatial intelligence to domestic and international customers, benefiting various sectors and applications.