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Diamond in the sky, Part I

Diamond in the sky, Part I

The UAE is set to launch it first satellite into space this month. And when it does, the region will never be same again. Part I in a series

November 5, 2008 1:21 by

Ian Munroe

This month, a modified Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile should blast a small, remote-sensing satellite owned by the Dubai government into orbit. On first pass, the event seems barely newsworthy. Satellite launches are almost commonplace nowadays (in fact, three other satellites will be strapped to the same missile). But for the UAE, liftoff will mean a major investment in the space industry is up and away, marking another step in the country’s ambitious campaign to modernize.

But let’s not get too carried away – the contraption isn’t entirely the UAE’s brainchild. Although a recently established government body, called the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), is involved with the project, experts from South Korea’s Satellite Technology Research Center are the ones heading up construction. And a Moscow-based space company called ISC Kosmotras will shoot it into orbit either from Russia or from Kazakhstan.

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