UAE-Bahraini satellite launches into orbit from International Space Station

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A collaborative satellite launch by the UAE and Bahrain has “successfully launched into orbit” from the International Space Station, according to an Emirati state media agency WAM report.

The Light-1 CubeSat was launched in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) from the Tsukuba Space Centre (TKSC) after the UAE and Japan signed a cooperation agreement in 2016.

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The satellite will monitor and study Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) from thunderstorms and lightning, marking the region’s “first scientific mission,” according to WAM.

High-energy gamma-ray emissions reportedly impact atmosphere, air traffic and human health. Flight crew are affected more commonly since these rays are known penetrate aircraft structures, reported WAM.

It was developed jointly by the UAE Space Agency, Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi.

Data gathered from the Light-1 CubeSat aims to leverage space science to support sustainable economic growth reported WAM. This will be shared globally to “support scientific analysis and encourage cooperation” among researchers.

“As this UAE-Bahraini nanosatellite reached its orbital position, we believe this collaboration initiative will stand out as the best example of what can be achieved by the scientists in the Arab world,” said Dr. Arif Sultan al-Hammadi, Executive Vice-President of Khalifa University according to WAM.

Salem Butti al-Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, said in a statement to WAM: “Coming close on our recent success with the Emirates Mars Mission, and our first space astronaut Hazza al-Mansouri’s journey to the International Space Station, this is an endorsement of our achievements in the cosmos.”

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