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Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for deep science mission

The partnership aims to empower local talents and open investment opportunities for universities through an academic exchange programme.

Oman-based International Emerging Technologies Co. has signed an agreement with Virgin Orbit to prepare satellite launch platforms in Oman.

As part of the agreement, the group plans to launch a satellite designed by SatRevolution aboard a Virgin Orbit rocket, sending it to deep space with the mission of conducting cutting-edge scientific research and capturing high-resolution imagery. All collected data and images, both from the Low Earth Orbit and deep space missions, will be further analysed digitally using computer vision, machine learning, and AI solutions developed by TUATARA in strategic partnership with ETCO. This mission will collect valuable data regarding the hidden patterns that underlie climate change, and the aftereffects of natural disasters. In addition, it could provide scientists with essential information needed to understand what occurs on the surface of Earth’s neighbours. 

As per the agreement, the establishment of satellites in low Earth orbit will be studied to conduct scientific research, capture high-resolution images of space, and use the latest solutions to digitally analyse data and images collected from orbit.

As an emerging space-faring nation with plans to launch small satellites into Low Earth Orbit and foster a local, sustainable space ecosystem and industrial base, the Sultanate of Oman further plans on expanding its ambitious space endeavours and engaging the Omani public and students through STEM activities.  

Commenting on the agreement, Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit, said: “Only a few nations have been bold enough to venture into deep space, but with Oman’s strong vision supported by cutting edge launch and spacecraft technology another spacefaring nation is about to join those ranks. We are proud to have been entrusted by the Sultanate of Oman as their exclusive launch partner in helping to fulfill the goals of bringing sustainable space solutions to Oman.  Beginning with the launch of the first Omani satellites out of the first UK launch this year, the progression has been set for a myriad of space missions to expand technology, science and exploration.”

Grzegorz Zwolinski, CEO of SatRevolution, added: “Both projects will contribute to the near-term goals of the Sultanate of Oman which include the modernization of the educational ecosystem, growth in the support of scientific research and innovation, enhancement of the in-house development of cutting-edge technologies, which will shape the world in the twenty-first century.”

Tariq Al Belushi, Vice President of ETCO, stated: “The future of the Sultanate of Oman is one of innovation, and it’s through partnerships with pioneering organisations like Virgin Orbit that we will make active contributions to those sectors and technologies that are driving progress on a global scale. This partnership is a major step in helping us to enrich the Sultanate’s Space industry with the latest technologies and know-how, while adding overall economic value according to Oman’s 2040 Vision.”

Krzysztof Goworek, Chief Innovation Officer of TUATARA, noted: “Our mission is to deliver enchanting experiences in the digital space and we are thrilled we were invited to help translate outer space data into digital. We believe that the Oman project will not only be providing vital scientific data and boosting the growth of STEM industry in the Sultanate but will also inspire the world in the further democratisation of space research.”

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