SATELLITES IN PLANNING

Saudi Arabia is set to launch two indigenous satellites with a precision navigation system within the next few years, according to Prince Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammad vice president for research institutes at King Abdul Aziz city for Science and Technology. Saudisat 4 and Saudi GEO 1 – will be launched in 2013 and 2015 respectively. These satellites will be equipped with highly sensitive devices and cameras for conducting various scientific experiments. “This is a part of a long-range 20-year strategic plan the Kingdom adopted in the field of space technology research. It started in 2005 and will last until 2025,” Prince Turki said. Saudi Arabia currently has 12 satellites used for a variety of applications, including communication, land and sea navigation; all were launched by Russian carrier rockets from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan. State funds of over $2bn have been allocated to this project.