Their Highnesses Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, launched the implementation phase of the Satellite Radar Constellation “SIRB” project.
This project aims to support the UAE’s satellite manufacturing and operation ecosystem while driving the nation’s space industry forward.
Their Highnesses were briefed on the project’s objectives and advanced technologies to be developed for the satellites. They were also updated on the mechanism for developing, manufacturing and operating the satellites by a national industrial alliance overseen by the UAE Space Agency.
The first satellite is scheduled for launch in 2026 and will complement the UAE’s investment in remote sensing technologies serving various sectors with diverse space imagery.
The radar satellite will enhance the UAE’s remote sensing capabilities and the overall first-of-its-kind project will develop a constellation of all-weather, day and night radar imaging satellites with one-metre resolution.
The project aims to fulfil numerous objectives that would enhance the UAE’s efforts in providing solutions for climate change, environmental sustainability, urban development, integrated efforts, disaster response support, food security challenges, and more.
This will rely on qualified national talent and Emirati companies while encouraging partnerships with global institutions and providing incentives as an extension of the Space Economic Zones project that cements the UAE’s position as a global hub for talent, investment and innovation.
H.H Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “The UAE is working to enhance local expertise in space to achieve its ambitious goal of becoming a global centre for manufacturing and operating satellites.”
He added: “We are focusing on creating opportunities for national companies and the private sector to be part of this pivotal journey, supporting the development of infrastructure for the space sector.”
Moreover, H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “Project SIRB is a strategic turning point for the UAE space sector, transforming it from an academic government sector to an integrated academic, government and private sector that supports developing advanced technology and completes industrialising the space sector.”
He added: “We prioritize enabling SMEs and entrepreneurs, as key drivers of developmental and economic renaissance.”
H.E Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of the UAE for Public Education and Advanced Technology, Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency Board of Directors, thanked H.H Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for their immense support and unique vision in enhancing the space sector’s growth in general and overseeing the SIRB project implementation launch in particular, which is led by the UAE private sector for the first time.
She said: “The SIRB project implementation phase launch represents a confident step in our space journey embodying the UAE’s determination to spearhead the comprehensive renaissance of the space sector across all its fields and sectors while shaping a new chapter of excellence in the high-precision radar satellite market. This expresses our ambition and will to build a sustainable future abundant in innovation and uniqueness with the support of wise leadership.”
She added: “At the UAE Space Agency, we reaffirm our steadfast commitment to opening new horizons day by day for local industry, developing Emirati talents, and supporting national companies to ensure contribution to comprehensive developmental progress and building a prosperous future for our nation on all fronts.”
EDGE Group will be the programme’s managing strategic partner, focusing on developing the SAR satellite payload. Al Yah Sat and BAYANAT will handle operating the satellite and managing space data and applications. The National Center of Space Science and Technology will continue contributing effectively to the programme’s assembly, integration and testing.
The alliance will keep expanding cooperation with other industry players, SMEs and startups to enhance capabilities and enable private space sector growth.
EDGE will establish local and international partnerships for technology transfer, knowledge exchange and building expertise in satellite systems, specifically SAR payloads, boosting the UAE’s vital space capabilities.
The space programme is expected to reinforce the UAE’s position as a regional and global leader in the space sector while driving economic growth and technological innovation.
A key SIRB programme element is marketing satellite data nationally and internationally. The high-precision radar satellites will support a wide range of scientific and commercial applications from monitoring environmental changes to natural disaster management and mapping.
The programme details review meeting was attended by H.E Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, UAE Minister for Defence Affairs; H.E Sarah Al Amiri; H.E Staff L.t General Engineer Issa Saif Bin Ablan Al Mazrouei, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces; H.E Major General Dr. Mubarak Saeed Bin Ghafan Al Jabri, Assistant Undersecretary for Defence Industries Support at the Ministry of Defence; H.E Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency (UAESA); H.E Faisal Al Bannai, Chairman of EDGE Group; H.E Ibrahim Hamza Al Qasim, Deputy Director General of the UAESA; and Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, SIRB Programme Director.