Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has launched the DEWA-SAT 1 nanosatellite in collaboration with NanoAvionics, becoming the world’s first utility to use nanosatellites to improve the maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks.
DEWA-SAT 1 was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fromCape Canaveral Space Launch Complex (SLC-40) in Florida, USA. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, attended the launch along with officials from DEWA and NanoAvionics.
“The programme supports the National Space Strategy 2030 that aims to realise the UAE’s vision in space sciences, technologies, applications and services. Today, DEWA, in collaboration with NanoAvionics, has launched the first U3 nanosatellite as part of the Space-D programme that aims to improve the operations, maintenance and planning of its networks with the support of nanosatellite technology, Internet of Things (IoT), and remote sensing technologies. The programme also aims to train Emirati professionals to use space technologies to enhance its electricity and water networks and take advantage of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain to exchange information with the help of satellite communications and earth observation technologies,” said Al Tayer.
The nanosatellite was designed and developed at DEWA’s R&D Centre in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. DEWA will launch another U6 nanosatellite later this year to promote its flexibility and agility in monitoring, managing, and maintaining its electricity and water networks. This ensures providing electricity and water services according to the highest standards of availability, reliability, and efficiency. It also reduces costs, improves its asset utilisation, enables knowledge and experience transfer, as well as trains Emiratis at DEWA.
Al Tayer said that DEWA-SAT 1 uses LoRa IoT communication technology, which is a new wireless protocol designed for long-range communications that consumes less energy, to expand the coverage of the existing terrestrial communication network. Using satellite communications, IoT, and AI will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DEWA’s operations and support digitising energy networks, water distribution and transmission networks. It also enables the integration of IoT data using DEWA’s private cloud.
Waleed Bin Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Excellence at DEWA, said that DEWA’s Space-D programme includes launching the nanosatellite constellation developed by Emiratis at DEWA’s R&D Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The system features a ground station at the solar park as well as IoT and AI technologies to support ground communication transmission stations in electricity and water networks. Multi-spectrum, high-resolution thermal imaging devices such as those used onboard spacecraft, specifically designed for use in electricity and water networks, will be deployed to detect thermal fingerprints in high voltage transmission lines, substations, buildings and solar power stations.