Ministry Approval received by Masdar Institute on joint initiative with Yahsat and Orbital ATK to Incorporate Space Concentration into Seven Master Degree Programs

20th August 2015, UAE:– The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, together with Yahsat, the UAE satellite operator today announced that approval has been received from the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to incorporate a Space Systems and Technology concentration into seven of its Master of Science degree programs.

The approval enables Masdar Institute to welcome its first group of students this September, considerably ahead of the initially scheduled January 2016, The seven Masdar Institute academic programs that will now include the space concentration option are: MSc in Mechanical Engineering; MSc in Materials Science and Engineering; MSc in Computing and Information Sciences; MSc in Electrical Engineering; MSc in Engineering Systems and Management; MSc in Microsystems Engineering; and MSc in Water and Environmental Engineering.

Masdar Institute’s Space Systems and Technology concentration is part of a collaboration with satellite industry leaders Yahsat and Orbital ATK, who are currently building Yahsat’s third satellite Al Yah 3. The Master’s concentration includes student-led design, integration, construction, testing and operation of a CubeSat that will be subsequently launched and monitored via a ground station.

The first class of 15 students will be welcomed this September at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, following an induction programme at Yahsat’s Headquarters. The course will provide a rigorous academic grounding in a multitude of space-related scientific and engineering disciplines. Subject matter experts from Orbital ATK will also help refine and structure the curriculum in order to provide students with an industry-centered educational experience and training.

Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said, “The CAA approval to incorporate the Space Systems and Technology concentration demonstrates Masdar Institute’s ability to create the talent required for the UAE’s space program. Following this approval, Masdar Institute is better positioned to contribute to the country’s national ambitions and we believe our commitment to developing human and intellectual capital will place us as one of the frontline institutions that will be closely involved with the UAE’s strategic initiatives.”

Commenting on this important achievement, Executive Director of Human Capital, Mona Al Muhairi said : “This is a significant milestone for the UAE’s Space initiatives, and we are very proud to be key contributors towards developing this sector and this program. Building a talent pool of the next generation of space engineers is vital to the sustainable growth of the space industry. As market leaders, Yahsat is committed to developing specialist talent and expertise in the field of science and technology. This commitment further demonstrates our support for an innovation-led knowledge based economy.”

Orbital ATK’s Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Antonio Elias, said “Orbital ATK is pleased that Masdar Institute has achieved this first important milestone in the establishment of the new Space Systems Concentration. We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of students this September, as they represent the next generation of Emiratis contributing to the country’s goals of establishing a vibrant space program.”

The CAA approval will not only enable the launch of Masdar Institute’s academic program on Space Systems and Technology, but it will also ensure that the research-based institution plays a leading role in producing trained manpower that will contribute to the UAE’s growing space sector and missions.

“Our space concentration is designed to give students the specialist knowledge and skills required for a career working with space technology and its applications. Students’ theses work will address challenges and scientific research opportunities in space science and technology and will be complemented by a hands-on project focused on designing, building, testing and launching a small satellite,” explained Dr. Youssef Shatilla, Dean of Academic Programs, Masdar Institute.

The space concentration is part of Masdar Institute’s growing engagement in space and satellite-related research and technology. It has been developing increasing expertise in high resolution imagery of the surface using remote sensing with visible and thermal portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, which allows identification of minerals at/near the surfaces of the planets. The Institute is also collaborating with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in a joint four-year pilot study to understand how the level of soil moisture affects dust in desert and dry environments.

More recently, Masdar Institute announced the formation of the UAE Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS). As part of the activities during the first year, the UAE Chapter will host a series of distinguished lecturers sponsored by the IEEE GRSS, along with organizing local meetings to share technical interests and foster collaborations. The Earth-Observation and Hydro-Climatology Lab (EOHCL) is spearheading key remote-sensing research projects.

These initiatives support the UAE’s national space ambitions. Last year the UAE leadership announced that the Emirates Mars Mission would launch a probe to the red planet in 2020. Space is also one of the seven sectors targeted in the UAE National Innovation Strategy, which aims to make the UAE one of the world’s most innovative countries by 2021.

Yahsat One Step Closer to Expanding More Satellite Broadband Across Brazil and Africa

10th August 2015, UAE: Yahsat, the UAE-based satellite operator, a wholly owned company of the Mubadala Development Company, announced today the successful completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) of its latest satellite Al Yah 3.

Yahsat senior management joined the Yahsat team of engineers embedded at the Orbital ATK facilities, in Virginia, USA along with its partner Orbital ATK for this critical moment that represented the final stage before assembling all components of the satellite together.

The CDR is conducted during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase, and completion of this indicates that all specifications and requirements have been captured into the overall final design of the satellite.

Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat said, “Today’s successful CDR makes it clear that we are on track for an on schedule launch. It also serves as a greater proof point of the continued success of our vision for Yahsat. Our third satellite will fuel growth in our business, and significantly expand our coverage area to be a truly global company; all this is in direct response to exceptional customer demand.”

Emirati engineer, Adnan Al Muhairi, Al Yah 3 Satellite Project Manager, said, “It’s a great day for all of us. It has been a tremendous learning experience for me being based at the manufacturing facility in the USA. Having the opportunity to work hands on throughout this process, and to see how our hard work is paying off with the successful completion of this review just adds to my excitement about the upcoming launch. I am very proud to be contributing to the UAE’s next mission in to space.”

“The successful completion of the Al Yah 3 CDR is an important milestone for the program and for Orbital ATK’s GEOStar 3 platform which includes capabilities to support payload powers up to 7.5kW, advanced avionics and electric propulsion. We look forward to continuing a close working relationship with Yahsat as we move on to the manufacturing and test phase of the program.” said Al Lewis, Vice President of Program Management for Orbital ATK’s Commercial Satellite Division.

Once the new satellite is operational, Yahsat’s Ka-band coverage footprint will be significantly expanded, bringing high-speed, affordable satellite broadband services to the Brazilian and African consumer and enterprise markets, as well as economic, high data-rate backhaul links for ISPs and telecommunications operators.

Yahsat and Sevis Systems announce successful technical validation of optimized 3G & LTE Mobile Backhaul via YahClick

4th August 2015, UAE: UAE based Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC (Yahsat) today announced successful collaboration with Texas-based mobile backhaul technology developer Sevis Systems, to deliver an optimized backhaul solution that facilitates the expansion of mobile networks across the Yahsat Ka-band footprint.

Yahsat’s pursuit of an optimized satellite backhaul solution stems from a demanding mobile broadband market and sophistication in today’s mobile devices, which push usage patterns towards an increasingly data-dominated mobile environment. This puts a considerable strain on cellular backhaul infrastructure, particularly in locations unserved or underserved by terrestrial networks. For the expansion of mobile broadband access in such locations, network operators are often left with a difficult choice between paying prohibitively high prices for satellite backhaul bandwidth and investing in their own terrestrial access infrastructure.

To get around this Capex and Opex backhaul challenge, Yahsat and Sevis began collaborating on the design and validation of a cost-effective satellite backhaul alternative. The companies jointly conducted technical validation and interoperability testing on the YahClick platform, successfully demonstrating substantial bandwidth savings via voice and data optimization as well as improved performance via TCP acceleration, which boosts the speed of TCP-based applications including mobile web browsing, file downloads and HTTP video streaming.

The integrated IP backhaul solution resulting from the integration of Yahsat’s Ka-band transport layer and Sevis’ optimizers is mobile-network agnostic and can thus seamlessly integrate with any small cell 3G Iuh or LTE base station vendor used by the mobile operators and YahClick partners.

The pre-tested backhaul solution is based on Yahsat’s Ka-band system and Sevis’ scalable 7000-series optimization platform with a rich, software-defined, feature set. In addition to offering a cost-effective wireless backhaul solution, the solution will also enable service options such as traffic offload and overflow via satellite. The optimized hybrid satellite-cellular solution can also be used to bridge the digital divide through mobile connectivity, and as a way to lower the total cost of ownership for governments implementing backhaul solution programs.

David Murphy, Chief Commercial Officer of Yahsat said, “As an organization, Yahsat always seeks to adopt the newest and most efficient service delivery platforms in order to support our partners, grow our business and expand our geographic footprint. We are excited by the prospect of further improving mobile connectivity in our markets and look forward to continuing our work with Sevis to activate this service on the ground, post the validation phase. Their credentials and track record give us confidence that a viable and attractive solution will be developed.”

Tim Peyla, VP of Business Development at Sevis Systems said, “Sevis remains committed to push the boundaries of what is possible in high-throughput satellite (HTS) backhaul. The combination of the Opex saving virtues of Yahsat’s Ka-band satellite frequency reuse and use of our acceleration and optimization technology has a lot of synergy. We look forward to continuing working closely with Yahsat as we seek to demonstrate this efficient hybrid broadband concept to YahClick distributors and mobile network operators.”