Bayanat and Yahsat have announced the expansion of their Earth Observation (EO) space programme. The expansion involves increasing the number of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites in their constellation from five to seven. They have partnered with ICEYE, a specialist in SAR satellite development, to provide the necessary technology and expertise.
This expansion will result in more frequent revisits to the Middle East by the orbiting satellites. As a result, Bayanat and Yahsat will be able to deliver near real-time, high-definition images of conditions on the ground across the region. This is part of their plan to provide advanced geospatial intelligence to domestic and international customers.
Unlike traditional satellite images that rely on light, SAR satellite images use radar signals. This enables persistent monitoring of specific locations on the Earth’s surface day and night, through clouds, and multiple times per day. These images allow government and business customers to detect detailed changes on the ground. Applications of these capabilities include identifying oil spills, monitoring maritime activities, and surveillance at ports. This technology has diverse applications across sectors such as insurance, national security, and climate change monitoring.
The decision to expand the SAR satellite fleet is seen as a milestone in the development of the UAE’s New Space economy. By developing technological prowess and building a domestic SAR satellite industry, Bayanat and Yahsat aim to diversify the economy, create high-tech jobs, and enhance strategic independence.
Yahsat, as a pioneer in the UAE’s space sector, is proud of its role in this partnership. The company aims to extend the nation’s capabilities and reinforce the UAE’s leadership in the space sector in the MENA region. Yahsat has a global presence, serving business and government customers supported by its satellite communications infrastructure, which covers 80% of the world’s population.
In May, as part of the space programme, Yahsat and Bayanat launched their own satellite radar imaging service, marking the first step in providing customer-ready commercial services using ICEYE’s fleet. This service became fully operational in a short span of time, reflecting the agility of the New Space sector.
ICEYE, based in Helsinki, has deployed 31 SAR satellites since 2018 and provides its partners with a wide range and control of surface imaging. Their technology offers ground resolution as precise as 50 centimeters and expansive views up to 50,000 square kilometers.
The ongoing collaboration between ICEYE, Bayanat, and Yahsat is an important step forward in the UAE’s rapidly developing space capabilities. The partnership reflects a commitment to supporting Bayanat, Yahsat, and the wider UAE in becoming space technology producers.