Unique innovations in the Bahraini satellite project
Dr. Mohamed Ebrahim Al-Aseeri, CEO of the National Space Science Agency, stressed that the Bahraini satellite project, currently in its initiation phase, is considered a unique national project, which will include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and the construction of a space ground station, that come to achieve the comprehensive development vision of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and in implementation of the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, to employ modern science in national development.
Al-Aseeri explained that there are two expected payloads of the new Bahraini satellite, the main payload is dedicated to monitoring the Earth through the use of cameras designed to photograph the Earth from space, which will make the Kingdom on the list of countries competing for leadership in space science, while the secondary payload, to be agreed upon, may include unique innovations in areas related to space applications, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and indicated that work on their implementation has already begun, and will be tested in the space environment when the satellite launches into orbit by the end of the next year, and that these innovations themselves are considered advanced scientific achievements in fields classified among the sciences of the future, and establish the formation of a specialized national scientific base and contribute effectively to scientific research, dissemination of knowledge and encouragement of innovation.
Dr. Al-Aseeri said that the project includes the establishment of a space ground station to operate and manage the Bahraini satellite and any other satellites that can be communicated with within the agreements concluded by the Agency with a number of space agencies, which is a qualitative addition to the infrastructure of the space sector at the national level, and expressed his optimism about the Bahraini satellite project that will be implemented in the Kingdom of Bahrain and by the hands of the youth of Bahrain, which came to translate the attention that the leadership attaches to the NSSA and its relentless follow-up. For initiatives that invest the talents and capabilities of young Bahraini energies from various engineering and technical disciplines, to compete for global leadership in the field of space and its diverse sciences, stressing that the Agency supports national competencies and enhances its knowledge, technical and practical capabilities, as all its cadres are qualified Bahrainis, and the percentage of Bahraini women among the team members is 65%.
For his part, Dr. Mohamed Jassim Al-Othman, Technical Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Agency, stressed the importance of the project as it represents the second step of the process of localization of the space sector in the Kingdom, after the project of the satellite Light 1 with brothers in the United Arab Emirates, which has earned the Agency’s engineers a certain level of expertise, this project comes to gain more experience and have the primary role in the process of design, planning, construction and development, in the laboratories of the NSSA, in addition to including the establishment of a miniature ground station through which satellite operations are managed from mission planning, sending commands and receiving data.
Dr. Al-Othman said that this project is a complement to the national space system, after the establishment of a laboratory for the analysis of data and satellite images in the Agency, this project comes to represent the stage of collecting these data and images from space, thus implementing an important stage in this system. Through this project, the satellite operating system will be built and several software for subsystems based on artificial intelligence will be developed and can be used and developed for future satellites and registered as patents in the name of the Kingdom, where possible. In addition, the satellite will contain a secondary payload containing advanced AI-based technologies that support cybersecurity, putting the satellite of interest to the space community.