March 19th, 2009
UAE will join the spy satellite game.. info
| Abu Dhabi base for $800m satellite service |
A consortium of Emirati and international companies is establishing an earth imaging service that will include the launch of four satellites by the end of 2013 and cost nearly US$800 million.
- Last Updated: February 24. 2009 7:30PM UAE / February 24. 2009 3:30PM GMT
The space technology venture was launched by 4C Controls, a US-based surveillance and security company, Hydra Trading, the Abu Dhabi investment firm, and Baynuna Aviation Service, also based in Abu Dhabi, along with several leading European space firms.
The centre, to be based in Abu Dhabi, would be the first that specialised in high-resolution pictures taken by satellites originally designed for military purposes, according to officials of the operating company, 4C GEOC Gulf Earth Observation Centre.
Within six months of completion of the first stage of the imaging centre, it will start receiving images from satellites and distributing them to customers around the region. The company plans to start producing its own images after the launch of its first two satellites in 2012.
These satellites produce radar-based photography technology that allow them to generate high-resolution images in different weather conditions, and at night. Similar cameras will be mounted in the satellites to be launched by the Abu Dhabi space venture.
By the end of 2012, the project is expected to have cost investors at least $500 million, with $30m of that being used to build the observation centre’s facilities in Abu Dhabi.
The space centre will offer its services to nations and companies. The major areas that are expected to benefit from the technology – besides defence and security – are management of natural disasters, maritime management, environment protection, geological research and the making of maps.
“Any customer or country has the right to obtain this type of information according to international agreements,” said Major Gen al Buainnain. “It has nothing to do with politics, it is a technological issue and countries like India and Israel are in the region and they already launch their satellites. It is a scientific and economic venture.”
It is not clear yet from where the satellites will be launched, but officials say that the US is a possible location.
UAE being the local guardian of the Hormuz straits on behalf of GCC and the western world makes it a must I guess...