Includes MBZ-SAT satellite equipment

Emirates Aluminium arrives in space

Delivery of the first Emirati-made aluminum parts to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. From the source

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, yesterday announced the supply of EGA's Celestial, a solar-powered aluminium that will make its debut in the space sector through a partnership with Gulf Clouds and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

Celestial aluminium was formed at the company's Jebel Ali site to enter the manufacture of MBZ-SAT's MBZ-SAT satellite, the region's most advanced high-resolution imaging satellite, scheduled for launch in 2024.

This partnership is a significant step for the UAE space sector in implementing the 'Make in the Emirates' initiative, and supports the 'Project 300 Billion' strategy, which seeks to more than double the size of the industrial sector by 2031, and achieve the UAE's goal of strengthening its position in the field of space exploration globally.

The first fully Emirati-made aluminium pieces were delivered to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Al Khawaneej, Dubai.

Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General of MBRSC, said: "Our role at MBRSC is not limited to space exploration, but also to contribute to the diversification of the country's economy."

"We appreciate the value of joining forces with various partners to benefit from their expertise and capabilities. Through strategic partnerships with innovators such as EGA and Gulf Clouds, we are contributing to the development of the UAE space sector."

"We are committed to supporting innovation and working to promote the growth of this vital industry."

EGA's Chief Executive Officer, Abdul Nasser Bin Kalban, said: "EGA has been manufacturing its metal in the UAE since 1979 and we are delighted to be collaborating with Gulf Extrusions to bring solar-powered Celestial aluminium to one of the UAE's largest monuments for access to space.

"Aluminium is an essential material for modern life, especially in space travel, and solar celestial aluminum represents a significant contribution from the UAE to the progress of humanity."

Omar Shaqm, CEO of Gulf Extrusions, said: "The locally made parts of EGA are used to manufacture everything from cars to skyscrapers around the world. We are delighted that our products are reaching space for the first time through the MBZ-SAT satellite."

He added: "We seek to support the 'Make in the Emirates' initiative, and contribute to building an integrated modern life at the same time."

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) was established to advance the science and technology of space exploration and plays a pivotal role in achieving the country's goals in the field of space science and the technology sector. The centre's main programs and projects include the Satellite Development Program, the UAE Astronaut Program, the Emirates Mars Mission Project, the Mars 2117 Program, and the Emirates Lunar Exploration Project, among many other objectives. MBRSC aims to establish partnerships with major international space institutions, recognizing the importance of cooperation to promote innovation and drive the growth of the UAE and Arab space sector.

Aluminum has been a staple in space exploration since the launch of the first satellite in 1957, due to its light weight, strength and corrosion resistance.

EGA's aluminium is the country's largest locally manufactured export after oil and gas, being sold in more than 50 countries around the world. In 2021, EGA became the first company in the world to commercially produce aluminium using solar energy through an agreement with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which operates the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the Dubai desert. The use of solar energy significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the global aluminium industry, with about 60% of these emissions attributable to electricity generation.

Last year, EGA hosted Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori in a webinar to discuss the use of aluminium in the space world with EGA.

EGA is also one of the most innovative companies in the UAE and has developed its aluminium smelting technologies in the country for more than 30 years. One of EGA's latest technologies is DX+ Ultra smelting, which is among the most efficient in the global aluminium industry, and has used its own technology in all its smelter expansions since the nineties, replacing all old production lines, and was the first UAE industrial company to license its own industrial technologies internationally.

Gulf Extrusions, a subsidiary of Al Ghurair Group, is one of EGA's 26 local customers who manufacture everything from auto parts to window frames for local use and export worldwide, with the company selling 10 per cent of its production locally and the aluminium sector contributing 1.5 per cent to the UAE economy.

• Celestial aluminium made with solar energy is entering the space sector for the first time.