Graduation Ceremony for the GCC's First MSC Program in Space Systems and Technology Held in Abu Dhabi

Press Release From: Orbital ATK
Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Yahsat, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Orbital ATK, celebrated the graduation ceremony of the first batch of graduates from the Institute’s Master’s concentration in space systems and technology at the Emirates Palace hotel, Abu Dhabi, today.
The ceremony was attended by Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and member of the Executive Council, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in the UAE, H.E Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the Director-General and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), H.E Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, the Minister for Youth in the UAE, H.E DR. Ahmad Belhoul, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr. Ernest Jeffrey Moniz, former United States Secretary of Energy, Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat, Mounir Barakat, Executive Director Information & Communications Technology at Mubadala Investment Company, and David W. Thompson, CEO of Orbital ATK.

The concentration was launched at Masdar Institute in collaboration with Yahsat and Orbital ATK, a leading American aerospace manufacturing company, in response to the country’s space exploration and sector goals.
Masood. M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat said: “Today is the day to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the students who have successfully completed a rigorous, advanced program in space engineering.’’
“To advance the UAE’s space ambitions further, it is essential to focus on the development of our youth; our graduates are the future leaders of this country and I strongly believe that this program offers students a solid foundation to launch their career and realise their full potential,” added Mahmood.
The space systems and technology concentration, which was launched in May 2015, is the first of its kind in the region. Through the program, Yahsat and Orbital ATK provide expert guidance, testing facilities and research assistance to concentration students to enable them to learn and successfully apply fundamental concepts of science and engineering.
Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost at Masdar Institute, said: “It’s Masdar’s 10th anniversary year and on this very important day, we witness the graduation of the first batch of students from our Master’s Concentration in Space Systems and Technology. These talented UAE national graduates have answered the leadership’s call and put in hard work to gain the skills they need to contribute to UAE’s advanced space ambitions. I would like to thank Yahsat for their partnership and commitment to training these pioneers in space technology. We look forward to seeing what their futures hold, and how they will support the UAE’s growing space sector.”

As part of the concentration, students completed coursework and conducted research in areas to support the UAE national space program and space-related industries. Through their studies, the graduates have learned topics ranging from the development, assessment and characterization of photovoltaic technologies for CubeSats to planning and conducting CubeSat missions. They have also studied the infrastructure needs for space missions, including regulation and policies for satellite networks, and worked on technologies such as advanced antenna arrays for satellite communications and the fabrication and characterization of a three-dimensional printed gyroscope for aerospace applications.
Earlier this year, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Yahsat also announced the launch of the Yahsat Space Laboratory at the Masdar Institute campus, which is being used by students to develop Cubesats. Each Cubesat will be built with different payloads, such as cameras, sensors and scientific equipment. MYSAT-1 is the program’s first satellite design, which began with the first cohort of students from the space concentration in August 2015.
“For the past two years Orbital ATK subject matter experts have worked with the Masdar students and we have seen them grow in their expertise and skills through the Space Systems and Technology Program,” said David Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Orbital ATK. “Today is the culmination of their hard work and we offer the students and their families congratulations on their achievements. We look forward to the contributions these students will make to the country's new space program.”
Students keen to pursue a career in the Space industry and learn more about the program can visit:

About Yahsat

Yahsat provides multipurpose satellite solutions (government and commercial) for broadband, broadcast, government, and communications use across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe in addition to Central and South West Asia. Based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company, the investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi, Yahsat is the first company in the Middle East and Africa to offer multi-purpose Ka-band satellite services including:

·         YahClick - offers broadband satellite solutions for home and business
·         YahService - offers managed solutions and government capacity
·         YahLink - offers IP trunking solutions, corporate networking and backhauling capacity
·         Yahlive – a joint venture between Yahsat and SES, offers premium services to broadcasters and a select choice of TV channels
Yahsat’s first satellite Al Yah 1 was successfully launched in April 2011, and the company’s second satellite Al Yah 2 was successfully launched in April 2012. Yahsat announced its third satellite, Al Yah 3, planned for launch in 2017, extending their commercial Ka-band coverage to an additional
20 markets reaching 60% of Africa’s population and over 95% of Brazil’s population, marking the company’s first entry into Brazil.
For more information visit
About Masdar Institute

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (Masdar Institute) is a private graduate university addressing issues of regional and global importance through a specialty in clean and renewable energy, water and environment, and sustainable technologies. The Institute is a part of the newly-established Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute has developed an academic and research platform that reflects critical energy and sustainability challenges. An important characteristic of Masdar Institute is its focus on complex real-world problems that require a multidisciplinary approach for the development of solutions from an integrated technology, systems and policy perspective. This interdisciplinary and integrated approach is supported by the structure of its academic programs and by the emphasis placed on engaging external partners from industry, government, and other academic institutions in collaborative activities.

Masdar Institute is dedicated to developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to pursuing solutions to some of humanity’s toughest challenges. Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop critical thinkers and the leaders of tomorrow.

For further information, please visit

About Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies.  The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,500 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations.

For more information, visit

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