UNOOSA and MBRSC to carry innovations from Bahrain and Nepal to space on the PHI-1 satellite

UAE: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have announced two successful payloads for PHI-1. According to the MoU signed at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Dubai last year, UNOOSA and MBRSC will work together to accelerate and foster innovation in the space technology sector by extending their support and knowledge to the world .

As part of the new announcement, PHI-1 will provide the National Space Science Agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain (NSSA) and the Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal with a 5U slot within the satellite’s 12U modular layout to carry out their novel projects on board take and test in space with the necessary support.

The AMAN payload designed by the Bahrain team will test an optimized Advanced Encryption Standard aimed at securing communications between the satellite and the ground station. While the “Danfe Space Mission” from Nepal will study the operation of PX4 Autopilot, a middleware for drones in space, with a focus on the behavior and operation of the system. Both winning payloads will provide teams with hands-on experience, knowledge and skills, and contribute to capacity building in space technology.

As part of the UNOOSA Access to Space for All initiative, PHI-1 will support the ultimate goal of ensuring that no one is left behind on the path to space exploration and sustainable development on Earth.

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HE Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General of MBRSC, said: “We have made tremendous progress in the year since the Payload Hosting Initiative was first announced. Today we congratulate the facilities selected for participating in the PHI-1 mission. This joint effort supports capacity building and advances space science and technology in developing countries and is an important opportunity for innovation and demonstration of new technologies. This really shows how, with everyone’s effort and participation, we can advance space exploration.”

UNOOSA Acting Director Niklas Hedman said: “The Access to Space for All initiative has been a game changer for 21st century capacity building in space science and technology. We are grateful for the support of our partners, thanks to which we are able to make a real difference to teams and institutions around the world. I look forward to seeing the results of the PHI program which will boost the space industry in Bahrain and Nepal.”

PHI as an initiative aims to contribute to the expansion of space activities and their application to promote human resource development in line with the mission and goals of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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NSSA CEO Mohamed Al-Aseeri commented: “We are pleased and honored that the “Aman” project was selected by UNOOSA and MBRSC in the first round of the PHI initiative tested by the NSSA. This opportunity is unprecedented in our quest to make a meaningful contribution to global efforts towards the sustainable, peaceful uses of outer space and to building national space capacities.”

Abhas Maskey, Founder of Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal, said: “If Nepal is to advance as a space nation, the country must seize every available opportunity to develop self-sufficiency, conduct research and development, and build space capacity. I firmly believe that Nepal’s participation in PHI-1 will be a small step towards a future potential collaboration for Vision 2050, a vision to have our country’s first astronaut in space by 2050. Space is the new frontier, even for Nepal.”

This initiative will raise awareness to use the space sector as an engine for economic and social development and to view it as a long-term engine for innovation and strengthening international cooperation on an all-encompassing basis.


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Founded in 2006, the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) started with five engineers dedicated to developing their skills and expanding their knowledge in the field of space, relying on a strong will and solid determination supported. Since then, the center has continued on its way to becoming the incubator of the UAE National Space Programme. MBRSC has taken on the responsibilities of building, developing and operating a range of Earth observation satellites, providing imaging services, analyzing and investigating them, and producing relevant data for scientific communities and research centers around the world. Satellites operated by the center include DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2. The MBRSC is also responsible for KhalifaSat, which was hailed as the first satellite built entirely by Emiratis in 2018. Recently, the center announced its plan to develop the new MBZ-SAT satellite, which is expected to be launched in late 2023 and will be the latest in high-resolution imaging from space.

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The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses and exploration of outer space and in the use of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development. The Office assists all member States of the United Nations in creating legal and regulatory frameworks to govern space activities and strengthens the capacity of developing countries to use space science technologies and applications for development by helping to integrate space capacities into national development programs.

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