The Ruler of Sharjah Inaugurates Four Space Sciences Projects at SAASST

28 May 2019

The Ruler of Sharjah Inaugurates Four Space Sciences Projects at the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah, stressed the significance of Sharjah's scientific centers and institutions that support beneficial sciences and knowledge to be a strong foundation for scientific research, studies, and services.

This he stated during the inauguration ceremony of four difference space sciences projects at the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST) held on Tuesday evening at the Academy.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah also addressed the importance of astronomy and space sciences and technology studies and developments addressed through the work and programs of SAASST. He also commended the collaboration of Prof. Victor Pracas with the Academy to complete the rare Meteorites Collection, and extended his thanks to the UAE Space Agency for their support of scientific research in astronomy and space sciences.

The launch of these important projects is part of the plans of the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy and Space Science and Technology to study and advance scientific research related to space and astronomy in cooperation with the UAE Space Agency. This is to support researchers and specialists in the development of astronomy and space sciences to preserve the aspects of the field from misconduct and harness all advanced sciences in space to serve people.

The first project launched is the UAE Meteor Monitoring Network, which consists of three towers placed at three special locations (Sharjah, Al-Ain, and Liwa) to cover the whole UAE sky. Each tower consists of 17 cameras that scan the sky from sunset to sunrise to observe any possible meteors or man-made falling satellites debris. Once a meteor is detected, the network will locate the probable spot where the meteorite might have fallen in the UAE. This station is unique in the world, and it is part of the international "Space Situation Awareness" program to help the public understands the threat of space debris.

The second project is the Decametric Radio Telescope that consists of 4 dual-dipole antenna units using NASA's Radio JOVE Telescope kit as the building block. The receiver of the telescope is designed to operate at 20.1 megahertz (MHz) to conduct radio observations of the Jupiter-Io interactions, solar bursts, and the background radio emission of the Milky Way galaxy. This radio telescope will help understand the interaction between the Sun and Earth's upper atmosphere. The researchers at SAASST aim to understand how the solar bursts are correlated to the aurora as well as the observations of the sunspots.

The third project His Highness inaugurated is the Canadian Advanced Digital Ionosonde (CADI), which is a low cost, state of the art, flexible, full-featured ionosonde ideal for both routine ionospheric monitoring and research. CADI provides sounding capability using high power radio frequency pulses at vertical incidence. This system will help understand the interaction of the solar wind with Earth's upper atmosphere, which can negatively affect GPS signals that are so crucial in navigation.

Finally, the fourth project the Ruler of Sharjah inaugurated is the 5-meter Radio Telescope that uses three SPIDER 500A telescopes to simulate a radio interferometer with a size equivalent to a 40-m dish working at 1.4 GHz. The first 5-m radio telescope is the first operational at 1.4 GHz. For the first time, we will have radio maps of the whole universe taken by a 5-m dish. This will help better study the large hydrogen structures distribution that exists between superclusters of galaxies.  This study is crucial to understand the expansion of the Universe.

During the ceremony, His Excellency Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah and Director of SAASST, gave a word starting with welcoming the attendees and extending his thanks and gratitude to His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah for his support of the activities and projects of the Academy. A support that, he added, enables the scientists and researchers of the Academy to present the best studies and research as well as reach accurate and beneficial scientific results. He also gave a brief introduction of the significant new astronomy and space sciences projects and commended the work of the scientists and researchers working on them while also extending his thanks to the UAE Space Agency for their collaboration with the Academy.

For his part, His Excellency Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, also gave a word on this occasion in which he congratulated the UAE and the Arab World for this accomplishment. He also thanked the UAE leaders for the attention and support of the educational institutions in the pursuit for advancement and prominence.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah then awarded a number of persons and entities who supported the development of these projects including Prof. Victor Pracas, businessman Mohammed Saeed Al Qassimi, the National Center of Meteorology, and the UAE Space Agency.

His Highness also inaugurated the Meteorites Collection, which is unique for being one of the largest collection of meteorites in the world. It consists of more than 8,000 meteorites of different types: stony, achondrite, lunar, and Martian. The collection presents a unique chance to study the formation of the solar system as the different meteorites represent fingerprints of all the physical processes that these stones went through in more than 4.6 billion years. By analyzing them, the Academy aims to discover their origins (near or far from the Sun), temperature (low or high), as well as the different pressures present at the time of the formation of the Solar System.

H.E. Khamees bin Salem Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Districts and Villages Affairs Department, attended the ceremony along with His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture; His Excellency, Dr. Tareq Sultan bin Khadem, Head of Human Resources Department; His Excellency Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah International Airport Authority; H.E. Abdullah Ali Al Mehyan, Chairman of the Sharjah Health Authority; His Excellency, Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; H.E. Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Protocol, Transport & Traffic Department; Dr. Rashid Obaid Jumaa Al Leem, Chairman of the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority; His Excellency Ali Al Marri, Head of Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies; Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General UAE Space Agency; as well as a large number of directors and scientists and researchers at the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology.

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