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SMi MilSatCom USA 2020  Satellite Communications Technology

Exolaunch to deliver UAE Space Agency’s small satellite into orbit on Soyuz-2

(17 March 2020 - Exolaunch) Berlin-based Exolaunch today announced that the launch of a 3U cubesat, MeznSat, for the UAE Space Agency will be performed aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket.

The purpose of the satellite is to study and monitor the greenhouse gases, specifically CO2 and Methane, over the UAE.

MeznSat is a nanosatellite for climate observation, manufactured by Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST) in partnership with the American University of Ras Al-Khaimah (AURAK) and funded by the UAE Space Agency. The satellite’s primary payload will be a shortwave infrared (SWIR) spectrometer that makes observations in the 1000-1650 nm wavelength range to derive atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

The secondary payload on MeznSat will consist of a VGA camera for post-processing that brings increased precision and accuracy to the SWIR spectrometer data. The combination of visible and SWIR bands will make MeznSat a unique CubeSat mission, specifically designed to generate a rich dataset for exploring atmospheric correction algorithms.

MeznSat is scheduled for launch in mid-2020. It is accommodated on one of the upcoming Soyuz-2 federal launches as part of the small satellite cluster launch contract between Exolaunch and Glavkosmos, the operator of international commercial activities for the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos. Glavkosmos has been a reliable partner for Exolaunch, and it is pleased that the partners from the UAE have chosen a Soyuz launch vehicle for delivering MeznSat into orbit.

“We are proud to apply our best-in-class launch services expertise and utilize our market-leading EXOpod deployer for this Soyuz-2 mission,” Jeanne Medvedeva, Commercial Director at Exolaunch, said. “The UAE Space Agency is nurturing some of the world’s brightest young minds who apply space-based solutions to tackle global issues. It is extremely rewarding for us to support their vision.”

Exolaunch’s vast experience in cubesat launches, which includes the deployment of 89 small satellites into orbit to date, will ensure the success of this important launch and initiative. Moreover, UAE Space Agency’s goal of developing student competencies makes this a particularly exciting collaboration, as Exolaunch will be able to utilize its educational background to lead students through the entire process of a launch arrangement. This Soyuz-2 mission serves as a milestone for both small satellite engineering and space education.

"The MeznSat project broadens the horizons of UAE’s satellite capabilities, which include remote sensing, Earth observation and communications. The key objective of the project is education, in keeping with our vision to contribute to the international space sector, strengthen scientific research methodologies and develop capabilities in the UAE," Khalid Al Awadi, Director of Space Mission Management at the UAE Space Agency, said. “Seamless launch integration and deployment are crucial for our success, and Exolaunch has the flight heritage and proven successes we can trust. We are also excited to confirm the launch aboard a Soyuz-2 and continue this successful collaboration after sending the first UAE astronaut to space on the rocket last year.”

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch is a launch services and separation systems provider offering regular and affordable access to space for small satellites. Its flight heritage includes the successful deployment of 89 multinational small satellites into orbit, in cooperation with launch vehicle providers worldwide. Exolaunch enables the visions of the world’s most ambitious startups, research institutions, governmental organisations and space agencies. The company also designs and manufactures in-house the market-leading 12U/16U EXOpod cubesat deployer and CarboNIX shock-free separation system for microsatellites.

About the UAE Space Agency

The UAE Space Agency, the first national space agency in the region, was established in 2014, and is responsible for organizing, regulating and supporting the national space sector under federal law. This includes the complete oversight and funding of space missions such as the Mars Hope Probe, the UAE’s unmanned mission to Mars.

The primary goals of the UAE Space Agency are to contribute significantly to diversification of the national economy, prepare the upcoming generation of Emiratis for leadership in the space sector through a range of capacity building programs, and raise awareness about space sciences and STEM fields among the general public. In addition, it is responsible for expanding and enhancing the UAE’s international standing in space-related fields, and for issuing policy and laws for the space sector.

About Glavkosmos JSC

Glavkosmos is a subsidiary of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos. The main task of the company is to promote the achievements of the Russian rocket and space industry to world markets and manage complex international projects. For more than thirty years, the company has successfully fulfilled over 120 international contracts, including the launch of more than 140 spacecraft as a secondary payload.