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Saudi Arabia launches 17th satellite

The satellite is dedicated to photographing Earth and tracking ships from low orbits.

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has announced the launch of Shaheen Sat successfully from Baikonur base in the Republic of Kazakhstan onboard Russian rocket Soyuz 2.

The satellite is dedicated to photographing Earth and tracking ships from low orbits. Shaheen Sat is a new generation of small size satellites and includes a load of high-resolution imaging telescope and a load for tracking marine ships.

Developed and manufactured within a short period of time, Shaheen Sat is characterised by an imaging accuracy of up to 0.9 meters, a weight not exceeding 75 kg and dimensions up to 56 x 56 x 97 cm.

On this occasion, KACST President Dr Anas Bin Faris Al-Faris said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that this achievement is a result of the great support being accorded to the sector of research, development and innovation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

He also indicated that the success of the satellite launch comes as a continuation of the successes achieved by the Kingdom in the field of space, as KACST worked to develop and manufacture a group of highly efficient satellites that provide imaging and reconnaissance services, as it launched 17 satellites during the past 20 years.

Dr Al-Faris added that Shaheen Sat was developed by a Saudi team of various engineering specialities in cooperation with KACST partners. It provides satellite images to government and private sectors to serve the Kingdom’s development goals as it also works to track marine vessels by employing artificial intelligence techniques and large data.

He pointed out that KACST will work, in cooperation with the Saudi Space Commission, to invest in technology, develop and manufacture highly efficient satellites in a short period of time.

For his part, the CEO of the Saudi Space Commission Dr Abdulaziz Bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh expressed, in a statement to SPA, his happiness with the distinguished step of KACST in the successful launching of Shaheen Sat, indicating that this achievement is a result of the unlimited support of the King Salman and Crown Prince, citing the efforts of the Saudi team of engineers and specialists as well as the accumulated experience of KACST.

He also attributed these achievements to the continuation of astronautics that began in 1405 AH, distinct efforts of KACST and the valuable contributions of research centres affiliated to government agencies and universities.

He stressed that such achievements would enable the space sector to achieve the position befitting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regionally and internationally at all levels, especially since the space sector is sustainably growing, which makes it an economic and strategic future for all developed countries.