The Kingdom plans to launch satellites in a couple of years stated Prince Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Muhammad, Vice President for Research Institutes at King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, as reported by the Saudi Gazette.
“These will include, Saudisat4 that will be launched in September 2013, and Saudi Geo1 that will be launched in 2015. We already have 12 satellites used for the purposes of communication, land and sea navigation and some business applications,” he said in a paper entitled: “Toward a Knowledge Society: KSA, National Plan for Science, Technology, and Innovation”.
The paper was presented at the 2nd Saudi International Space and Aeronautics Technology Conference 2012.
The Saudi Gazette quoted the Prince as saying, “This is a part of a long-range 20 years strategic plan the Kingdom has adopted in the field of space technology research. It started in 2005 and will last until 2025. It is hoped that it will contribute to shift the country to a knowledge-based economy in collaboration with developed Western countries in the field of space and aviation,” Prince Turki said.
He said the plan is to be implemented in cooperation with various government departments in the Kingdom like water, environment, desalination technology, solar power, bio-vital technology, and genetic engineering.
In another paper titled “The Role of Ministry of Education in the Transformation to the Knowledge Society,” Dr. Khalid Al-Sabti, Deputy Minster of Education, said transformation to knowledge society was a priority for his ministry.
“For that goal, we have created 14 science centers related to space programmes and sciences and worked to have 25 percent of students in the Kingdom participate in the scientific innovation contest aimed at developing their knowledge and scientific aspects related to various types of space programmes,” he said.
The conference, which ends Friday, is being held in association with XXV Planetary Congress Association of Space Explorers. The Congress is the second to be held in the Kingdom.