Crown Prince helps assemble final piece of Jordan’s first nanosatellite, records audio message to be transmitted from space
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II visited the Nanotechnology Institute at the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) on Monday, and checked on the final stages of a project to launch Jordan’s first nanosatellite, designed and built by young Jordanian engineering students under the supervision of the Crown Prince Foundation (CPF).
Crown Prince Al Hussein helped assemble the final piece of the nanosatellite, which falls under the CPF’s Masar initiative, aimed at inspiring youth to pursue space studies, and offer training and research opportunities in the field of satellite engineering and space mission design.
The nanosatellite, to be launched in the first quarter of 2018, has been designed for research and educational purposes, as well as to promote tourism in Jordan by transmitting images of tourist and heritage sites, and for wireless communications with ground stations around the world.
At the Nanotechnology Institute, His Royal Highness recorded an audio message that will be uploaded later onto the nanosatellite’s memory to be transmitted from space to ground receivers.
The nanosatellite is called “JY1-SAT”, in memory of His Majesty the late King Hussein, who held the call sign of JY1.
In a briefing to the Crown Prince during the visit, the coordinator of the Masar initiative, Sanad Haddad, said it started with the first Jordanian students who interned at NASA under a cooperation programme with the space agency.
The students proposed a project to design and launch Jordan’s first satellite, a CubeSat, which is a nanosatellite, Haddad explained.
He added that this nanosatellite is Jordan’s first foray into space studies, and the only Arab nanosatellite to be locally designed and built.
Nineteen engineering students, along with engineering academics and consultants at Jordanian universities, are involved in the project.
On the sidelines of the visit, the Crown Prince was shown a number of innovative projects and initiatives spearheaded by JUST students, such as Formula cars, an autopilot system, a solar water distillation system, robotics, and JUST’s electronic student newspaper.
JUST President Omar Al Jarrah briefed His Royal Highness on the university’s achievements, including being classified as a five-star university under the Global QS ranking, becoming one of 62 universities classified as such out of 25,000 universities in the world, in terms of education, employment, scientific research, and international programmes.
JUST was also ranked first among Arab universities in the GreenMetric World University Ranking.
Jarrah said JUST has advanced 200 places on the Times Higher Education World University Ranking, becoming one of the top 500, which helps promote the university internationally and attract Arab and foreign students.
The Crown Prince also toured the electron microscopy laboratory, where JUST Nanotechnology Institute Dean Mohamed Al Fandi gave a briefing on various projects at the lab utilising electron microscopy.
The Director of the Office of the Crown Prince, the vice-president of the CPF’s board of trustees, and the acting CEO of the CPF accompanied His Royal Highness on the visit.
In an interview, Aya Jaafari, an electrical engineering student at the University of Jordan, said the CPF’s Masar initiative has enabled the participating students to acquire practical experience in space studies and satellite engineering.
The goal, she said, is not only to build a nanosatellite to represent Jordan globally, but to also equip youth with experience in aerospace engineering to enable them to complete bigger and more advanced projects in the future.
Many students at Jordanian universities are interested in satellite engineering and space studies, but the lack of such specialties has forced them to major in other fields of engineering, with hopes to continue their studies abroad, Jaafari added. The Masar initiative, however, has offered them such an opportunity in Jordan.
Ahmad Faris, a mechanical engineering graduate from JUST and a member of the Masar initiative, said he has gained advanced practical skills through the initiative, enabling him to work with his colleagues to design the nanosatellite.
Faris said the Masar initiative has given him the opportunity to interact with Jordanian students from other universities, as well as foreign experts in satellite manufacturing.
The graduate added that he and his colleagues have gained the skills and expertise required to join the engineering labour market.