CubeSat project gets a big push

The CubeSat Orientation Committee on Saturday held its first meeting at the Oman Astronomical Society (OAS) to discuss a project (CubeSat) that aims at building capacities for launching Oman’s first satellite. The committee comprised representatives from Ministry of Transport Communications, Sultan’s Armed Forces, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and Royal Omani Amateur Radio Society. Dr Saleh al Shidhani, Chairman of Oman Astronomical Society, thanked the entities that participated in the national project.

Dr Al Shidhani acquainted the attendees with the proposed project and its objectives, which include monitoring light pollution, and Oman’s atmosphere and environment, depending on the budget. The meeting discussed ways of supporting the project and the roles of various entities in providing specialised human cadres, the estimated cost, importance of the project for the Sultanate and how to book frequencies required for satellite communications. Oman has previously contributed to the launch of Arabsat satellite.

Of late, there been a shift to economically feasible solutions but with the space vacuum growing bigger and the cost of space programmes decreasing, the need has arisen for increased attention for space programmes. “The CubeSat project comes as a step for building capacities of national cadres so they can be involved in bigger space projects in the future,” said Al Shidhani. OAS had secured the government nod for the project at the end of 2017. A three-day workshop will begin tomorrow at OAS, where SQU experts and other institutions will deliver lectures on the developments in space science and technology. — ONA