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Dubai to digitise its energy and water supply with the support of nanosatellites

NanoAvionics will be the company in charge of the project, which will consist of launching two of these instruments
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum during his visit to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) Research and Development (R&D) Centre.

PHOTO/WAM  -   Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum during his visit to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) Research and Development (R&D) Centre

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has launched a new modernisation project in the city, in which it will improve the use of its energy and water networks through the digitisation of its channels. To do this, a plan has been devised to create two nanosatellites, instruments normally used for space observation, but which Dubai will use to improve its water supply system. 

The city has appointed NanoAvionics, a leading manufacturer and mission integrator, to design, build, test and manage the small satellites. NanoAvionics will build two nanosatellites of 3U and 6U. This is expected to reduce supply costs, improve the utilisation of its assets and provide sustainable electricity and water services to the city's population in an efficient and reliable manner. This will be achieved by deploying high-resolution thermal imaging devices, such as those used in spacecraft, to detect thermal footprints on water and electricity transmission lines in substations, buildings and solar power plants. 

The project will be part of the Space-D programme, which aims to improve various networks through the use of IoT technologies - a way of connecting devices together that has revolutionised technology worldwide - and remote sensing. The programme was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of the city of Dubai. The main objective of this plan is to develop DEWA's capabilities, in addition to training the country's various professionals to further develop space technology. In turn, this idea uses the best resources of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to exchange information in communications between satellites and satellite observation spaces.

El jeque Mohamed bin Rashid al-Maktoum durante su visita al Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo (I+D) de la Autoridad de Electricidad y Agua de Dubái (DEWA)
PHOTO/WAM - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum during his visit to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) Research and Development (R&D) Centre.

The project is also part of the National Space Strategy 2030, which aims to realise the UAE's vision of leadership through the use of space sciences, technologies, services and various applications that are related to the enhancement of its systems and products, with which the nation aims to achieve long-term goals. 

NanoAvionics co-founder and CEO Vytenis J. Buzas confirmed the news, saying, "This is a fantastic project for our company to be involved in and is a great example of how satellite technology improves our lives and helps us become more sustainable. The knowledge transfer in addition to satellite integration and mission operations for DEWA also shows the capabilities and value that our team of experts can bring to our customers. Our team has been part of more than 90 missions, including four successfully launched this year, and has previous experience in sharing their skills and knowledge through programmes with other international customers."

El jeque Mohamed bin Rashid al-Maktoum durante su visita al Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo (I+D) de la Autoridad de Electricidad y Agua de Dubái (DEWA)
PHOTO/WAM - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum during his visit to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) Research and Development (R&D) Centre.

DEWA will use these small satellites in line with its digital transformation. The first of these, the 3U satellite, consists of an IoT payload, while the 6U satellite has an Earth Observation (EO) payload. Their use, as well as satellite network connectivity, IoT terminals, satellite imagery and the application of AI (artificial intelligence) will seek to capture more data that will provide greater efficiency and effectiveness to this operation, as well as its maintenance. In addition, thanks to the projection of this idea, a programme has been approved to recruit Emirati professionals who can collaborate and work on the creation of the satellites, as well as for DEWA's future space plans.

NanoAvionics is a dedicated design brand with facilities in North America and Europe. Among its ranks, there are more than 100 employees who are in charge of the different projects being done. The new nanosatellites will be of Emirati origin and will be built at the Mohamed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park's Research and Development (R&D) Centre, which has a ground station at the solar park, as well as the necessary tools for their development.