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Khalifa SatDUBAI: February 15, 2018. The first satellite developed and built at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) by Emirati engineers has been flown to Incheon, South Korea on a chartered Emirates SkyCargo B777 freighter prior to its launch by a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) H-11A rocket from Japan.

The project was begun in 2013 with the aim of manufacturing the first space satellite on UAE soil and in 2015 MBRSC signed an agreement with MHI for the launch in 2018 of its first 'KhalifaSat' satellite into a Low Earth Orbit.

MBRSC already has two Earth observation satellites in orbit, DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, that were built in partnership with Satrec Initiative, a South Korean satellite manufacturer.

"It has been a journey of nearly five years from the time the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre commenced the manufacture of KhalifaSat to now where we're getting ready for the final launch," said MBRSC assistant director general for Scientific and Technical Affairs Salem Al Marri.

For the past three months teams from Emirates SkyCargo and MBRSC planned the satellite flight to Incheon that began with a remotely-monitored Emirates SkyCargo truck escorted by police on a geo-fenced route from MBRSC's manufacturing facility to the airline's cargo terminal at Dubai World Central airport.

"Over the years Emirates SkyCargo has transported a wide variety of unusual cargo but being able to transport the first satellite manufactured in the UAE is a unique honour. We are delighted to bring our expertise in air transportation to the table on this historic and momentous occasion," commented Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior vice president, Cargo.

KhalifaSat is expected to provide high-resolution images for various purposes including disaster management, environmental monitoring and change detection.

MBRSC is a member of the Global Alliance of Earth Observation Satellites Operators – a collaboration that also includes Dauria Aerospace (U.S./Russia), Elecnor Deimos (Spain) and Beijing Space Eye Innovation Technology (China).

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