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Yahsat, Orbital ATK, Masdar Institute Create Space Systems and Technology Master’s Degree Program

By | May 27, 2015
      Masdar Institute Master's Program

      Orbital ATK’s VP of Strategy and Business Development, Tom Wilson, signs an MOU in the UAE with Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat (middle) and Dr. Ahmed Belhoul, CEO of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Photo: Orbital ATK

      [Via Satellite 05-27-2015] Yahsat, Orbital ATK, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create the Gulf region’s first master’s level advanced studies space program. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is endorsing it, and the recently created UAE Space Agency was also in attendance at the signing.

      The Masdar Institute, a government-established, not-for-profit private graduate university tasked with cultivating an indigenous Research and Development (R&D) capacity in Abu Dhabi, anticipates having its first group of graduate students for the program in January 2016. Once the program receives all the necessary approvals from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the partnership will create a master’s degree program in engineering with a concentration in space systems and technology. The degree includes the student-led design, integration, construction, testing and operation of a CubeSat that will be subsequently launched and monitored via a ground station.

      The preexisting Yahsat-Orbital ATK partnership helped guide the academic program’s development and adds a greater technical dimension. Orbital ATK is building the operator’s next satellite, Al Yah 3, which is slated to launch aboard Arianespace’s Ariane 5 ECA rocket in 2016.