Marking a significant achievement for the UAE space sector, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, have initiated the development phase of the Sirb satellite programme. This milestone project aims to commercialize satellites and the data they generate on both national and international levels.
The Sirb programme will enable partnerships with global institutions and offer incentives as an extension of the Space Economic Zones project. It will involve collaboration with industry entities, SMEs, and startups to support the programme’s objectives. Abu Dhabi-based EDGE will manage the programme, with a focus on SAR payload development. Yahsat and Bayanat will oversee satellite operations and data, and NSSTC will provide assembly and integration testing operations.
During the launch event, Sheikh Khaled and Sheikh Hamdan received a detailed overview of the programme’s aims and the advanced technology under development. They were also briefed on the mechanisms involved in building and operating the satellites by a national industrial consortium under the supervision of the UAE Space Agency.
The first satellite, set to launch in 2026, will complement the UAE’s investment in remote sensing technologies using various satellite images. It will be a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite capable of capturing images during the day and night regardless of atmospheric conditions. The programme will include three advanced SAR satellites that use cutting-edge imaging technology to achieve high-precision results in all weather conditions.
These advanced satellites will support a wide range of applications, including monitoring environmental changes, managing natural disasters, and mapping. The project is a strategic turning point for the UAE space sector, transitioning it from a governmental and academic sector to an integrated governmental, private, and academic sector that promotes the development of microtechnology and advances industrial development in the space sector.
Sheikh Khaled emphasized the goal of enhancing local expertise in the field of space to support the UAE’s vision of becoming a global hub for manufacturing and operating satellites. Sheikh Hamdan stated that the Sirb programme signifies a strategic turning point that will propel the UAE space sector towards integrated development and support the growth of microtechnology.
These efforts align with the UAE’s commitment to advancing its space capabilities and contributing to the global space industry.