By Omar Al-Zobaidy, Arab News Staff
Published — Sunday 25 August 2002
Last Update 25 August 2002 3:00 am
RIYADH, 25 August — Saudi Arabia will launch a third communications satellite in November with the help of a Russian rocket from Kazakhstan.
Prince Turki ibn Saud, supervisor of the Space Research Institute, told Arab News that the satellite was designed and made entirely by a Saudi team.
He said the satellite will be used for purely commercial, non-military purposes.
Saudi Arabia launched two satellites in September 2000 from Kazakhstan by a Russian military rocket which are in orbit 650 kms above the earth.
The third satellite to be launched by Saudi Arabia can provide vital data on weather conditions and oil exploration besides monitoring the movement of vehicles in remote regions of the Kingdom.
"The King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology is currently designing and making a series of Saudi satellites to achieve the city’s objectives," he pointed out. The institute is an affiliate of KACST.
Prince Turki called upon Saudi businessmen to invest in the services to be provided by the new satellites.
The two satellites launched by the Kingdom in the past have been designed by Saudi scientists. Saudi Arabia is the second Arab country after Egypt to launch satellites.
The Saudi satellites are designed to have a weight of 10 kilos or more. Each one of them will cost SR3.75 million ($1 million) excluding the cost of launching.
The Space Research Institute and the Center for Remote Sensing are entrusted with the task of providing remote sensing technology including satellite imagery and data for the public and private sectors.
These images and data are vital to researches in areas like agriculture, geology, mapping and natural disaster studies.
The Kingdom has undertaken several research projects in remote sensing and space research.
It has already completed an important study on the Red Sea fish resources and another on environmental pollution in the country.
An exploratory study project on the mineral resources has also been implemented by specialized scientific institutes at KACST in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals.