Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, have commenced the execution phase of the Sirb programme. This momentous event signifies a significant milestone in the development of the UAE’s space sector, driven by the country’s industrial sector.
During the launch, the Crown Princes were provided with a comprehensive overview of the project’s objectives and the advanced technology that will be developed as part of the satellite programme. They were also briefed on the project’s milestones and the mechanisms for developing and operating the satellites by a national industrial consortium under the supervision of the UAE Space Agency.
The first satellite is set to be launched in 2026 and will complement the UAE’s investment in remote sensing technologies. This groundbreaking project involves the development of a constellation of three synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. These satellites will utilize state-of-the-art imaging technology to achieve high-precision results in all weather conditions, providing day or night imaging capabilities.
The project aims to address climate change challenges, promote environmental sustainability, support urban development, facilitate natural disaster management, and tackle food security challenges. The UAE intends to accomplish these goals by leveraging qualified national talent and collaborating with UAE companies, as well as nurturing partnerships with global institutions.
Sheikh Khaled emphasized the importance of enhancing local expertise in the space industry to support the UAE’s vision of becoming a global hub for manufacturing and operating satellites. The focus is on creating opportunities for national companies and the private sector to contribute to the development of the space sector’s infrastructure.
Sheikh Hamdan highlighted that the Sirb programme represents a strategic turning point for the UAE’s space sector, transitioning from a governmental and academic sector to a more integrated governmental, private, and academic sector. The goal is to empower start-ups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs, as they play a vital role in driving economic growth.
The UAE Space Agency, chaired by Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, expressed gratitude to Sheikh Khaled and Sheikh Hamdan for their continuous support and vision in the space sector. Al Amiri emphasized that the launch of the execution phase of the Sirb programme signifies the UAE’s commitment to advancing the space sector and ensuring its prosperity and sustainability.
EDGE, a strategic partner, will manage the programme with a focus on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload development. Yahsat and Bayanat will handle satellite operations and data management, while NSSTC will provide assembly, integration, and testing operations. There will be further collaboration with industry players, SMEs, and startups to enhance the programme’s capabilities and support the growth of the space private sector.
The Sirb programme will strengthen the UAE’s position as a regional and global leader in space, driving economic growth and technological innovation. The commercialization of satellites and the data they generate will play a crucial role in scientific and commercial applications such as monitoring environmental changes, managing natural disasters, and mapping.