Thursday 27 January 2022

Bahrain enters space age with launch of its first nano-satellite

MANAMA, December 21, 2021

Bahrain today (December 21) achieved a major milestone with the launch of its first-ever satellite.
The nanosatellite Light-1, a joint endeavour between Bahrain and the UAE, lifted off at 1.06pm (Bahrain time) from the Nasa Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, the US, aboard a Falcon 9 rocket which launched the SpaceX CRS-24 commercial resupply mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US.
It then successfully reached the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite will be later deployed into orbit from the ISS' Japanese Experiment Module, nicknamed Kibo. 
The Light-1's successful arrival at the ISS is the culmination of a trailblazing partnership between the UAE and Bahrain and an achievement of cooperation between the UAE Space Agency, Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA), Khalifa University of Science and Research and New York University Abu Dhabi.
It reflects the depth of bilateral ties between both nations, and the level of strategic partnership in all fields, including space, science and technology.
Named after His Majesty King Hamad’s book, First Light, the satellite is a major achievement for the kingdom.
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa sent a cable of congratulations and thanks to Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, National Security Adviser, Commander of the Royal Guard and Secretary-General of the Supreme Defence Council, on the successful launch of the first joint Bahraini-UAE satellite Light-1.
He commended Shaikh Nasser for his great efforts in ensuring the honourable historical scientific achievement for the kingdom, reported Bahrain News Agency.
He stressed that the vital project, in which qualified Bahrainis nationals were involved, will constitute an important breakthrough in strengthening the kingdom's capabilities in the technical, scientific and research fields, and in consolidating its global position and leadership in space science.
In reply, Shaikh Nasser sent a cable of thanks to King Hamad.
Shaikh Nasser stressed that space science and scientific and technical research were able, during the auspicious era of King Hamad, and with the help of qualified and creative Bahrainis, to accomplish the national achievement, the first step for Bahraini youth to move forward in space and creativity.
He also praised Bahrain's comprehensive progress that has demonstrated that all loyal Bahrainis stand united as the nation led by King Hamad moves forward and enlightened by His Majesty's directives.
"Light-1 is a result of collaboration between the UAE Space Agency and Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA), along with Khalifa University and New York University Abu Dhabi," stated NSSA chief executive Dr Mohamed Al Aseeri.
“This is a significant step towards establishing Bahrain in the space sector, following its new national strategy for space research,” noted Dr Al Aseeri.
“The new satellite will bring important scientific and technological contributions, collecting data about thunderstorms previously unavailable in the Middle East,” he added.
Light-1 will be subsequently re-launched into orbit around Earth during the first quarter of 2022 in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
It will then start the region’s first scientific mission to monitor and study terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) from lightning storms and cumulus clouds. The data will be made available to the global scientific community.
The data will also be used to construct simulations to map the frequency of thunderstorms.
The 3U CubeSat nanosatellite weighs 5.25kg and is approximately 10cm x 10cm x 34.5cm in size. It will be part of the Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-24) lifting off from the famous Cape Canaveral space centre’s Launch Complex 39A. Approximately 75 per cent of it has been built by a nine-person NSSA team.


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