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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Oman’s maiden satellite set for launch from UK spaceport

New milestone: After delays linked to technical and regulatory issues, Virgin Orbit’s rocket system integrated with an Airbus 747 transport vehicle, is prepped for take-off from Cornwall
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A roughly weeklong window of opportunities opens up at Britain’s Cornwall spaceport tomorrow, January 9, 2023 for the launch of Virgin Orbit’s air-launched rocket carrying a payload of satellites that includes the Sultanate of Oman’s first satellite, dubbed ‘Aman’.


It follows the successful completion on Thursday of an end-to-end launch rehearsal by Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket strapped to a repurposed Boeing 747 jet that has been prepped for take-off from Cornwall’s Newquay spaceport. Earlier efforts to launch the rocket were stymied by a combination of technical and regulatory issues.


Weather permitting, the Launcher One rocket, integrated with its 747 transporter, is scheduled to take off from the UK spaceport on Monday morning. However, should that launch fail go ahead for any reason, then a number of backup launch opportunities are lined up over the ensuing week through January 15, 2023, it is learnt.


Oman’s Aman satellite – the successful launch of which will kick off the nation’s ambitious space programme – has been described as a single earth observation satellite that aims to prove the future feasibility of a larger constellation.


The CubeSat type satellite is the product of international collaboration between the Sultanate of Oman, the United States, and Poland. Spearheading the project is Omani technology innovator ETCO, which has been working alongside Polish nano-satellite manufacturer SatRev, and cognitive technology solutions provider Tuatara.


The project seeks to fulfil a key objective of Oman Vision 2040 aimed at igniting the growth of a space-centric industry in Oman. It underlines the importance of a national programme aimed at fostering economic competitiveness and social well-being, stimulating growth and building confidence in all economic, social and developmental relations.


Oman’s space programme will enable groundbreaking scientific research and capture high-resolution satellite images, which will be further analyzed digitally using Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI solutions developed by TUATARA in strategic partnership with ETCO.


The Omani space project intends to provide long-lasting benefits and unlock new horizons for the next generation of world space explorers and innovators in the space sector, while investing in national talent that will build a promising future for Oman. Looking forward to delivering added value up and down the country, the project will encourage and support companies in Oman to accelerate its transformation into a space-related economy.


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