Muscat: All systems go, ready for takeoff. Oman’s space mission on Tuesday moved a step closer to achieving the long-cherished dream – launch of an Omani satellite into orbit.
Oman’s ambitious mission entered a critical phase on Tuesday as the first Omani satellite, Aman, was successfully integrated with a launch vehicle, the LauncherOne rocket. Aman will be launched into the Low Earth Orbit, at Newquay, Cornwall in the UK, later this year.
Satellite integration is a major step in meeting the objectives of Oman’s first space mission.
Oman’s mission is handled by ETCO, an Oman-based emerging technology innovator; Virgin Orbit, a leading US-based satellite launch company; SatRev, Polish nanosatellite manufacturer and operator and TUATARA, specialists in advanced AI, data analytics and cognitive technology solutions.
The joint work led to the first Omani CubeSat satellite, Aman, being integrated with the spacecraft during a procedure conducted at Newquay Airport in Cornwall.
The Virgin Orbit integration team led the event, beginning with a final cleaning and checkout of the Omani satellite, ensuring that the Remove Before Flight (RBF) items on the CubeSat were taken away.
Once the satellite was prepared, it was placed in the launch dispenser, followed by a series of rigorous checks.
“Satellite integration marks an important milestone in the plan to send the first Omani spacecraft into space this year. It is encouraging to witness this first-of-its-kind project in the country’s history and we are looking forward to see it through to a final stage that will occur later this year when it will be launched into the Low Earth Orbit,”said Abdul Aziz Jaafar, ETCO Chief Executive Officer.
“Integration went as planned and it was a complete success. All risks have already been minimised during the Fit-Check event that occurred during the previous month, where the same Virgin Orbit integration team was on-site at SatRev headquarters in Poland to perform a detailed walkthrough of all planned integration steps,” said Grzegorz Zwoliński, CEO SatRev.
The project is part of the Oman Vision 2040, a national programme aimed at fostering economic competitiveness and social well-being, stimulating growth and building confidence in all economic, social and developmental relations.
Oman’s space programme will enable ground breaking scientific research and capture high-resolution satellite images, which will be further analysed digitally using Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI solutions developed by TUATARA in strategic partnership with ETCO.
The Omani space project intends to provide long-lasting benefits and 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 project will encourage and support companies in Oman to accelerate its transformation into a space-related economy.