Dubai Municipality and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre have signed an agreement to design and manufacture the first environmental nanometric satellite in the region DM SAT1, anticipated to be launched in the year 2020. The nanosatellite represents an important step towards the future in the field of environment monitoring. It has several unique features that represent the next generation of satellites, including ability to orbit the Earth 14 times in a day with a revisit rate of 3-5 days. DM SAT1 is a high-performance nanosatellite designed to perform multi-spectral observations. It will monitor the aerosols and the greenhouse gases, providing a wide range of important and multipurpose data for environmental research and studies.The project also aims to develop the technical capabilities of the municipality specialists in management and use of the nanosatellite’s data in environmental monitoring and development of strategies to reduce atmospheric pollution, and address other challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation.
The nanosatellite, weighing just over 15kg and of dimensions 20 cm x 30 cm x 40 cm, is equipped with a multispectral remote sensing camera and will orbit at an altitude around 730 kilometres above the Earth’s surface. DM SAT1 employs the latest space observation technology to monitor and measure the levels of air pollutants with its goal centered on providing a comprehensive picture of the air quality, main sources of pollution in the region and greenhouse gas footprint. The DM SAT1 is powered by solar storage panels and it will feature two on-board computers, a Global Positioning System (GPS), and instruments capable of surveying the visible and infrared spectral bands. The nanosatellite measures parameters such as; (Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), Aerosol Effective Radius (AER), PM2.5 and PM10 and Greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, H2O). The captured data will help to develop and verify the air quality modelling processes, with the potential to determine the nature of the emission sources and the extent of their contribution to the air quality in Dubai. The data will additionally contribute towards the climate change monitoring and research in the region.