Saudi Arabia launches its 17th satellite, Shaheen Sat

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) announced Monday the launch of the "Shaheen Sat" satellite successfully; from Baikonur base in the Republic of Kazakhstan on board Russian rocket "Soyuz 2".

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) announced Monday the launch of the “Shaheen Sat” satellite successfully; from Baikonur base in the Republic of Kazakhstan on board Russian rocket “Soyuz 2”.

The satellite is to photographing Earth and tracking ships from low orbits. Shaheen Sat is a new generation of small size satellites. It also includes the load of high-resolution imaging telescope and a load for tracking marine ships.

Developed and manufactured within a short period of time, Shaheen Sat has an imaging accuracy of up to 0.9 meters; a weight not exceeding 75 kg and dimensions up to 56 x 56 x 97 cm.

On this occasion, KACST President Dr. Anas Bin Faris Al-Faris said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that this achievement is a result of the great support accorded to the sector of research; development and innovation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

Continued success

He also indicated that the success of the satellite launch comes as a continuation of the successes achieved by the Kingdom in the field of space; as KACST worked to develop and manufacture a group of highly efficient satellites that provide imaging and reconnaissance services, as it launched 17 satellites during the past 20 years.

Dr. Al-Faris added that Shaheen Sat developed by a Saudi team of various engineering specialties in cooperation with KACST partners. It provides satellite images to government and private sectors to serve the Kingdom’s development goals as it also works to track marine vessels by employing artificial intelligence techniques and large data.

He also pointed out that KACST will work, in cooperation with the Saudi Space Commission, to invest in technology; develop and manufacture highly efficient satellites in a short period of time.

Unlimited support of King Salman and Crown Prince

For his part, the CEO of the Saudi Space Commission Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh expressed, in a statement to SPA, his happiness with the distinguished step of KACST in the successful launching of Shaheen Sat, indicating that this achievement is a result of the unlimited support of the King Salman and Crown Prince, citing the efforts of the Saudi team of engineers and specialists as well as the accumulated experience of KACST.

He also attributed these achievements to the continuation of astronautics that began in 1405 AH; distinct efforts of KACST and the valuable contributions of research centers affiliated to government agencies and universities.

He stressed that such achievements would enable the space sector to achieve the position; befitting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regionally and internationally at all levels; especially since the space sector is sustainably growing, which makes it an economic and strategic future for all developed countries.

Localizing space technologies

Dr. Al-Sheikh further said that KACST represented the Kingdom during the past years, and that the Saudi Space Commission, after receiving the supervision of the sector, continues to work with KACST and other relevant authorities to transfer and localize space technologies in line with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in addition to the Commission’s goals by taking advantage of the Saudi research and development centers that have great contributions to the sector’s growth and its associated services and technologies.

The Soyuz 2.1a rocket launched into space with 38 satellites from 18 countries; including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Russian space agency Roscosmos also announced on Monday.

The UAE’s nanometric environment satellite will measure air pollutant sources across the country. It also will help the Dubai Municipality and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center create a nation-wide air quality map.

Tunisia is the third Arab country to send a satellite onboard the rocket. The Challenge-1 is the first satellite made completely in the North African country.