Advanced Television

Bayanat, Yahsat, ICEYE expand SAR satellite fleet

November 15, 2023

Bayanat, a provider of AI-powered geospatial solutions, and Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat), the UAE’s flagship satellite solutions provider, have announced the expansion of their Earth Observation (EO) space programme from five to seven synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites.

The expansion of the constellation – with technology and expertise provided by programme partner ICEYE, a specialist in SAR satellite development – means that orbiting satellites will revisit the Middle East more frequently, enabling Bayanat and Yahsat to deliver near real-time, HD images of on-the-ground conditions across the Middle East as they execute their plan to serve domestic and international customers with advanced geospatial intelligence.

Using radar signals rather than light, the SAR satellite images deliver persistent monitoring of specific locations on the Earth’s surface – day and night, through the clouds, and multiple times per day – and enable government and business customers to detect detailed changes on the ground. Typical applications include identifying oil spills; monitoring maritime activities, for instance, illegal fishing or encroachment into territorial areas; and surveillance activity at ports. These capabilities are applicable to organisations across a wide range of sectors – insurance, national security, and climate change monitoring, among others.

Hasan Al Hosani, Managing Director, Bayanat, said: “The decision to expand the SAR satellite fleet is one more milestone for both Bayanat and the UAE as we lay down the foundations of the New Space economy. Developing our technological prowess as we build out a domestic SAR satellite industry will help to diversify our economy, generate high-tech jobs, and bolster our strategic independence.”

Ali Al Hashemi, Group CEO of Yahsat, said: “As the pioneer of the space sector in the UAE, we are proud of our role in this partnership as we extend the nation’s capabilities, reinforcing the UAE’s leadership in the space sector across the MENA region and actively contributing to the implementation of the UAE space strategy. Yahsat has business and government customers around the globe supported by our world-class satellite communications infrastructure covering 80 per cent of the world’s population. Reaffirming our extensive experience, today’s announcement further accelerates this programme as we develop satellite imaging and Earth observation capabilities.”

As part of the space programme that was announced in May, Yahsat and Bayanat confirmed the ‘go live’ of their own satellite radar imaging service – the first step in the provision of customer-ready commercial services using ICEYE’s fleet. In reflection of the speed and agility of the New Space sector, this radar imaging service is fully operational just months after the programme was announced. Based in Helsinki, ICEYE has deployed 31 SAR satellites since 2018, and its technology provides its partners with a range and control of surface imaging — from ground resolution of 50 centimeters to expansive views up to 50,000 square kilometers distance.

Jamil Kawar, ICEYE’s VP of Missions in the Middle East and North Africa, added: “With dedicated access to ICEYE’s existing fleet and the ongoing manufacture of Bayanat and Yahsat’s own SAR satellite constellation, extending our collaboration is another step forward in the UAE’s rapidly developing space capabilities. Our deep, comprehensive partnership goes way beyond hardware and represents our commitment to supporting Bayanat, Yahsat, and the wider UAE to become space technology producers.”

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