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Abu Dhabi’s Tawazun Economic Council has formed a collaboration with Airbus and the National Space Science and Technology Centre, (NSSTC), from UAE University, to build and develop a Satellite Assembly, Integration and Testing, (AIT), Centre in Al Ain. The aim of the satellite centre will be to manufacture components and assemble, integrate and test small to medium satellites.

The AIT Satellite Centre will develop and build communication, navigation and hyperspectral satellites ranging in size between 50 and 250 kg and it is planned to commence operations at the beginning of 2021.

Airbus will support NSSTC during the design, outfitting and commissioning of the facility. Airbus will also manage the procurement, installation and operational qualification required for the equipment.

The collaboration was established and facilitated by Tawazun to drive a collaborative defence and security ecosystem, securing and progressing technology development, and building national competencies and skills within the UAE.

“This is our second project after Yahsat, and there are many more projects to come, as Tawazun works to further develop the UAE space sector,” said Matar Ali Al Romaithi, Chief Economic Development Officer of Tawazun. “The UAE is building and acquiring the knowledge required to become a regional hub for space activities and advanced research and development. This centre is an integral part of those plans and consequently, Tawazun has worked to make sure that it operates as a sustainable resource for the next five to seven years with a view to becoming permanent.”

“The space industry is an important and strategic sector for the UAE, as it enables the development of high-level skills and drives innovation,” said Mikail Houari, President Africa and the Middle East, Airbus.

“This new collaboration will support the future growth of the UAE’s space and satellite sector, contributing to the country’s economic diversification strategy. It will also support the continued efforts around Emiratisation, which will be vital for ensuring long-term sustainable development of the sector,” added Houari.