Marking another key moment for the UAE space sector, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, launched the development phase of the landmark Sirb programme.
The project will enable partnerships with global institutions and offer incentives, as an extension of the Space Economic Zones project.
The Sirb programme will enable the commercialisation of satellites and the data they generate on both national and international fronts.
At the launch, the crown princes received a detailed overview of the satellite programme’s aims and the advanced technology under development.
They were also briefed on mechanisms involved in building and operating the satellites by a national industrial consortium under the supervision of the UAE Space Agency.
The first satellite, which will be launched in 2026, will complement the UAE’s investment in remote sensing technologies that serve different sectors using various satellite images.
Radar satellites can capture images during the day and night regardless of atmospheric conditions.
This milestone project will include three synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites that use advanced imaging technology to achieve high-precision results in all weather conditions.
The advanced satellites will support a wide range of scientific and commercial applications, from monitoring environmental changes to natural disaster management and mapping.
Sheikh Khaled said, “We will enhance local expertise in the field of space to support our ambitious vision for the UAE to become a global hub for manufacturing and operating satellites.”
Sheikh Hamdan said, “Sirb marks a strategic turning point in the UAE space sector, transitioning from a governmental and academic sector to an integrated governmental, private and academic sector that supports the development of microtechnology and progresses the space sector’s industrial development.”
EDGE, Yahsat, Bayanat and NSSTC to work on Sirb project
Abu Dhabi-based EDGE will manage the programme and focus on the SAR payload development. Yahsat and Bayanat will oversee satellite operations and data and NSSTC will provide assembly and integrate testing operations.
They will collaborate with industry entities, SMEs and startups to support the programme.
EDGE will also work on the development of strategic alliances for technology transfer, knowledge exchange, and expertise development in satellite systems, amplifying the UAE’s sovereign capabilities in crucial space domains, particularly SAR payloads.