Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Spire, a leading space data, analytics, and services provider, will launch the “KAUST CubeSat” research satellite by the end of 2022.
Matthew McCabe, Director of KAUST Climate and Livability Initiative, explained that the research satellite specializes in collecting high-quality and high-resolution data for terrestrial, coastal, and ocean ecosystems, describing the launch as qualitative process for the Kingdom’s efforts in the field of protecting and restoring ecosystems on land and at sea.
McCabe said the data collected from the satellite is of paramount importance, especially in providing high-resolution details about the current conditions of ecosystems in the region, and monitoring improvements resulting from environmental management strategies, thus, supporting the Green Saudi the Green Middle East Initiatives.
The launch of this first satellite of its kind in the Kingdom constitutes the most technologically advanced, as it combines the expertise of Spire in developing Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS-R) reflectors, and hyper-spectral imaging devices supported by advanced capabilities in processing and artificial intelligence, which will allow KAUST University researchers collect, analyze and use high-resolution images of the Earth’s surface for detailed mapping of terrestrial environments, monitoring of vegetation cover status, exploration of coastal ecosystems and coral reefs, development of precision agricultural research, and a host of other earth and environmental science applications.
KAUST CubeSat research satellite will be supplied by a hyper-spectral imaging sensor that can image areas of interest anywhere in the world across more than 30 user-adjustable spectral bands which can be adjusted by a visible near-infrared (VNIR) spectrum. The received data from the sensor can be combined with Spire’s GNSS receiver to monitor micro-environmental variables such as soil moisture, helping in many areas such as agriculture, forestry, and land management.