VIENNA-DUBAI, 22nd September, 2022 (WAM) — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates have announced the awardees of their joint opportunity Payload Hosting Initiative (PHI), a cooperation programme under the Access to Space for All Initiative. Two payloads from the National Space Science Agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain (NSSA) and the Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal University have been selected to be on board the PHI-1 mission.
Through the PHI programme, UNOOSA and MBRSC provide the possibility to host payloads on a satellite platform developed by the Bin Rashid Space Centre. The programme supports capacity-building and promotes space science and technology in developing countries and is an important opportunity for innovation and new technology demonstration.
The “AMAN” payload conceptualised by a team from Bahrain will test an optimized Advanced Encryption Standard, which aims to secure communication between the satellite and the ground station/Internet of Things (IoT) terminals. The “Danfe Space Mission” of Nepal will study the operation of PX4 Autopilot, a middleware for drones in space, with a focus on the system’s behaviour and operation. The payloads will provide practical experience, knowledge and skills in space technology to the teams of both countries.
UNOOSA Acting Director Niklas Hedman said: “The Access to Space for All initiative has been ground-breaking for the twenty-first century capacity-building in space science and technology. We are grateful for the support of our partners, thanks to which we can make a real difference for teams and institutions all around the world. I already look forward to seeing the results of the PHI programme boosting the space sector in Bahrain and Nepal.”
Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General of MBRSC, said: “We have made tremendous progress in the year since the initial announcement of the PHI Programme. Today we are congratulating the entities that have been selected to participate in the PHI-1 mission. Through this mission, we seek to provide more such opportunities for all entities that possess valuable scientific innovations to test them in space along with our partner UNOOSA. This truly demonstrates how, with everyone’s efforts and participation, we can advance in space exploration”.
The Chief Executive Officer of NSSA Mohamed Al-Aseeri said: “We are delighted and honoured that the “Aman” project was selected by UNOOSA and MBRSC in the first round of the PHI initiative. Aman is considered the first Bahraini payload fully designed, integrated, and tested by NSSA. This opportunity is unprecedented in our quest to contribute meaningfully to the global effort towards sustainable, peaceful use of outer space and building national capacity in the space field.”
Abhas Maskey, the Founder of Antarikchya Pratisthan Nepal said: “If Nepal is to progress as a spacefaring nation, the country has to take each and every opportunity available to develop self-reliance, perform R&D and build capacity for space. I strongly believe that Nepal’s involvement in PHI-1 will be a small step toward future potential collaboration for Vision 2050, a vision to launch our nation’s first astronaut in space by 2050. Space is the new limit, even for Nepal.”