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Oman’s first satellite to launch from UK spaceport

Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket will carry the CubeSat into low Earth orbit.

Oman’s first satellite is ready to be launched from Cornwall, south-western UK.

Integrated into the launch rocket, LauncherOne, the satellite will be taken on its journey into space later in 2022.

The integration of this satellite into the LauncherOne rocket is a crucial milestone in the mission to send the first Omani satellite into Low Earth Orbit using a modified Boeing 747 jet, according to the report by Oman Observer.

The first Omani CubeSat satellite, “Aman”, is being integrated with the spacecraft during a procedure conducted at Newquay Airport, in Cornwall.

Oman’s mission to space is undertaken by ETCO, Virgin Orbit, SatRev, and TUATARA.

The Virgin Orbit integration team led the event, beginning with the final cleaning and checkout of the Omani satellite, ensuring that the Remove Before Flight (RBF) items on the CubeSat were taken away. Once the satellite was prepared, it was placed in the launch dispenser, followed by a series of rigorous checks.

“Satellite integration marks an important milestone in the plan to send the first Omani spacecraft into space this year. It is encouraging to witness this first-of-its-kind project in the country’s history unfolding and we are looking forward to seeing it through to a final stage that will occur later this year when it will be launched into the low Earth orbit,” explained Abdulaziz Jaafar, ETCO Chief Executive Officer.

“Integration went as planned and it was a complete success. All risks have already been minimised due to the Fit-Check event that occurred during the previous month, where the same Virgin Orbit integration team was on-site at SatRev headquarters in Poland to perform a detailed walkthrough of all planned integration steps,” added Grzegorz Zwoliński, CEO SatRev.

The project will be technologically independent, collecting and processing data that will serve the technological development of the Sultanate of Oman and contribute to the country’s economic growth. Satellite images can be used to monitor agriculture, renewable energy, oil, mining, weather forecasting, border monitoring and national security within the Sultanate.

The launch of Oman’s first satellite will provide opportunities for engineering students, university researchers and the founders of new companies to acquire knowledge, gain hands-on experience and comparative advantage to accelerate the space industry in the Sultanate.