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Bayanat and Yahsat expand Earth observation space programme

Bayanat, Yahsat, and ICEYE have broaden SAR satellite fleet to include seven spacecraft encompassing the Middle East.

Bayanat, a provider of AI-powered geospatial solutions, and Yahsat have announced a significant expansion of their Earth Observation (EO) space programme. The project, in collaboration with ICEYE, a global leader in SAR satellite development, will now encompass seven synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, an increase from the initial five.

The extended constellation, equipped with cutting-edge technology, training, and expertise from ICEYE, will enhance the frequency of satellite revisits over the Middle East. This expansion aims to deliver near real-time, high-definition images of on-the-ground conditions, empowering Bayanat and Yahsat to provide advanced geospatial intelligence to both domestic and international customers.

Utilising radar signals instead of light, SAR satellite images enable persistent monitoring of specific Earth locations day and night, through cloud cover, and multiple times per day. This capability facilitates the detection of detailed changes on the ground, making it valuable for applications such as identifying oil spills, monitoring maritime activities (including illegal fishing and territorial encroachments), and conducting surveillance at ports. These applications have broad relevance across sectors such as insurance, national security, and climate change monitoring.

Commenting on the deal, Hasan Al Hosani, Managing Director, Bayanat, said: “The decision to expand the SAR satellite fleet is one more milestone for both Bayanat and the UAE as we lay down the foundations of the New Space economy. Developing our technological prowess as we build out a domestic SAR satellite industry will help to diversify our economy, generate high-tech jobs, and bolster our strategic independence.”

Ali Al Hashemi, Group CEO of Yahsat, added: “As the pioneer of the space sector in the UAE, we are proud of our role in this partnership as we extend the nation’s capabilities, reinforcing the UAE’s leadership in the space sector across the MENA region and actively contributing to the implementation of the UAE space strategy. Yahsat has business and government customers around the globe supported by our world-class satellite communications infrastructure covering 80% of the world’s population. Reaffirming our extensive experience, today’s announcement further accelerates this program as we develop satellite imaging and Earth observation capabilities.”

As part of the space programme announced earlier this year, Yahsat and Bayanat had already launched their satellite radar imaging service, marking the programme’s first customer-ready commercial service using ICEYE’s fleet. The radar imaging service, fully operational within months of the program’s announcement, underscores the speed and agility of the New Space sector. Based in Helsinki, ICEYE has deployed 31 SAR satellites since 2018, and its superior technology provides its partners with a vast range and control of surface imaging — from the ground resolution of 50cm to expansive views up to 50,000 sqkm distance.

Jamil Kawar, ICEYE’s VP of Missions in the Middle East and North Africa, stated: “With dedicated access to ICEYE’s existing fleet and the ongoing manufacture of Bayanat and Yahsat’s own SAR satellite constellation, extending our collaboration is another step forward in the UAE’s rapidly developing space capabilities. Our deep, comprehensive partnership goes way beyond hardware and represents our commitment to supporting Bayanat, Yahsat, and the wider UAE to become space technology producers.”