16 May 2018
The Sharjah Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences at the University of Sharjah, and in collaboration with the UAE Space Agency, inaugurated the first of three towers of the UAE Meteor Monitoring Network project. Eng. Khaled Al Hashmi, Director of Space Missions, Science and Technology at the UAE Space Agency, attended the ceremony along with other officials from the agency, delegates from various universities in the UAE, and SCASS research assistants and staff members. The tower was designed at SCASS and engineered by students at the University of Sharjah.
This tower is part of a network of three towers that will observe the UAE Sky for any space debris. The other two towers will be installed in the Emirate of Abu-Dhabi with each tower equipped with 17 cameras – ten 8 mm cameras, six 6 mm cameras, and one all-sky camera. Along with the detection of space debris, the three towers will also be used for meteorological and ionospheric research applications, which will help advance the UAE's space sciences and research sector on the national and international level.
The UAE Space Agency is funding this project for a period of three years and a large team of students from the University of Sharjah will operate the system. The team will conduct thorough simulations in the case that the system detects any space debris. If the space debris is identified as a meteorite, and falls within the UAE territory, a drone system will then be used to locate it.