Muscat: In a first-of-its-kind in the history of the Sultanate of Oman, the Emerging Technologies Company (ETCO), an Oman-based emerging technology innovator, signed an agreement to jointly explore deep space project opportunities and delivery of nanosatellites into the Low Earth Orbit.
The project will initially deliver a nanosatellite that will enable ground-breaking scientific research and capture high-resolution images of deep space.
All collected data and images, both from the Low Earth Orbit and deep space missions, will be analysed digitally using Computer Vision, Machine Learning and AI solutions developed by TUATARA in strategic partnership with ETCO.
The project intends to provide long-lasting benefits, including the detection of hidden patterns, identification of trends and prediction of changes caused by, among others, climatic change or natural disasters. It will also provide investment opportunities with a number of universities through Academic Exchange Programmes, to unlock new horizons for the next generation of world space explorers and innovators in the space sector, while investing in national talent that will build a promising future for Oman.
The agreement was signed by ETCO with Virgin Orbit, a leading US-based satellite launch company, SatRevolution, a Polish nanosatellite manufacturer and operator and TUATARA, specialists in advance AI, data analytics and cognitive technology solutions.
The agreement was ratified by Abdulaziz Jaafar, Chief Executive Officer of International Emerging Technologies Company (ETCO) and Steve Eisele, VP (Business & Strategy) of Virgin Orbits in the presence of Dr Ali Al Shidani, Undersecretary for Communications and Information Technology at the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, Sultanate of Oman, Dr Mohammad bin Said Al-Maamari, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, Sultanate of Oman and Ambassador Leslie M. Tsou, U.S. Ambassador to Oman and other distinguished members at Muscat.
“Despite many technical advances to date, only a few organisations have been bold enough to successfully launch deep space projects,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “We are proud to have been entrusted by the Sultanate of Oman as their launch partners and fulfilling their ambitious goals to help bring sustainable space solutions to the country.”
“Both Low Earth Orbit and deep space projects will contribute to the near-term goals of the Sultanate of Oman, which include the modernisation of the educational ecosystem, scientific research and innovation, enhancement of in-country development of cutting-edge technologies that will shape the world in the twenty-first century,” SatRevolution CEO Grzegorz Zwolinski said.
“This partnership is a major step in helping us enrich the Sultanate’s space industry with the latest technologies and know-how, while adding overall economic value according to Oman’s 2040 Vision,” Tariq Al Belushi, ETCO Vice President said.
“With this milestone project, we will provide further opportunities in a sector of high potential for both local and international investors.”
“Our mission is to deliver enchanting experiences in the digital space, and we are thrilled to be invited to help translate outer space data into digital insights. We believe that this step will not only be providing vital scientific data and boosting the growth of STEM industries in the Sultanate, but will also inspire the world in the further democratisation of space research,” TUATARA Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Krzysztof Goworek said.
This partnership is a follow-up to the Memorandum of Understanding signed during the International Astronautical Congress in October 2021 in Dubai, which established the cooperation of the parties to design, manufacture and launch the first Omani satellite, manufactured by SatRevolution, onboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne in the first-ever launch from the United Kingdom’s Spaceport Cornwall in 2022. Driven by a forward-thinking approach, ETCO has developed a portfolio of successful partnerships in line with Oman’s digitisation strategy for 2040.