KACST Space Research Institute has already launched 12 satellites from Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan, for communication and other purposes. It aims to make Saudi Arabia a leading supplier of earth monitoring products from space, interactive maps and strengthen satellite capabilities. It has a fully-fledged system to receive and analyze space photos. The KACST Space and Aeronautics Technology Program also has several agreements in place, approved by the Saudi Council of Ministers, to work alongside teams from the US, India and Russia, and memorandum of understanding with the Ukraine and France, to develop and build new satellites.
In addition to the satellite program, KACST has also embarked upon a major program to assist outstanding students to conduct research work at US labs as part of efforts to produce a new generation of Saudi space scientists. This program will allow Saudi students to conduct research programs on board US space stations, opening new horizons for them in space science. Other areas that scientists participating in the KACST Space and Aeronautics Program are working on include the design, development and production of aeronautic technology such as leading airborne radio frequency, and EO sensor solutions for fast jet and transport aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
UAVs are a particularly important resource for the Kingdom as they provide a cost-effective solution for patrolling large areas such as the Kingdoms 9,000 kilometer borders along land and sea. UAVs also have potential civilian values such as monitoring the pipelines for maintenance and security, and search-and-rescue missions in the desert.
The Kingdom has participated in multiple significant research and development projects, including the monumental work on the Gravity Probe-B Experiment with Stanford University, the Lunar and Near-Earth Objects project with NASA, digital flight simulation and modeling, as well as imaging and visualization for disaster mitigation purposes...
KACST has been working in cooperation with Stanford University and NASA, in a space experiment to demonstrate Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The team achieved great results in their experiment to test and demonstrate two key aspects of the theory, which they carried out using Gravity Probe-B. The results came close to the expected results, based on the rules of the theory. KACST took charge of analyzing the data for this project. Prince Turki Bin Saudi Bin Mohammed Al-Saud, KACST Vice President for Research Institutes, highlighted that the cooperation agreement with Stanford University comes within the Kingdom's aspirations to build up cooperative relations for future space missions. The agreement stipulates technological cooperation between KACST and Stanford in analyzing the experiments and systems of Gravity Probe-B. KACST and Stanford researchers are also working together on other projects, including one to develop the latest UV laser technologies, angular sensing technologies, as well as manufacturing systems and testing them in space, using KACST manufactured Saudi satellites.
KACST and NASA have joined together on another project to collaborate in their lunar and asteroid research, by creating the Saudi Lunar and Near-Earth Object Science Center, and the NASA Lunar Science Institute, affiliate partners. H.H. Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Saud, Vice President for Research Institutes at KACST, said, "The international interest in lunar science and, more recently, near Earth objects, led to the establishment of the Center as a focal point for lunar science and NEO studies. Furthermore, we are looking forward to our expanding collaboration for the benefit of both countries." A NASA spokesperson said, "Our international partnerships are critical for meeting these objectives, and we are very excited by the important science, training and education that our new Saudi colleagues bring to the NASA Lunar Science Institute."
KACST Space Research Institute designed the first generation of Saudi geostationary communications satellite systems, and is currently working on developing this project further. KACST also completed the first engineering design phase of a science experiment satellite to conduct different research such as the ultraviolet laser experiment. KACST successfully operates SaudiSat 3, the first Saudi satellite, with an imaging accuracy of 2.5m. SaudiSat performs at the same level of precision as the French satellite, Spot-5.
KACST used a highly advanced program to perform a complete digital flight simulation and modelling of an aircraft with other moving objects. Studying the interaction of the various elements, KACST assembled all the aircraft's characteristics in a single environment to help simulate aircraft design and manufacturing. Additionally, with this program, KACST developed the technology to build a four seat helicopter that weighs one ton. Carbon and glass fibres were used to construct all the exterior and interior structures, which means that it is both lightweight and strong.
KACST participates in flood risk prevention studies for the Kingdom's cities, supplying the relevant bodies with satellite images of high spatial accuracy and resolution of flood risk zones. KACST is also working on producing models of high precision and resolution digital altitudes (up to 2m) to determine the course and direction of floods and water basins, in addition to producing high resolution and precision satellite images with perpendicular correction, digital maps and rotary imaging of flood risk zones. All of these products will be made available to the relevant government bodies to complete studies related to flood risk prevention. KACST has formed research and development partnerships and collaborations with the leading space and aeronautics organizations and research institutes around the world... KACST collaborations in space and aeronautics research and development include initiatives with NASA, Boeing,Lockheed Martin, GeoEye and Stanford University... KACST has widespread international collaborations in Space and Aeronautics...
KACST and the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have signed two agreements in the fields of Space Geodesy and Aeronautics, in addition to a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) in the fields of space and aviation. Another important collaboration between KACST and NASA, is the partnership between the Saudi Lunar and Near-Earth Object Science Centre, and the Lunar Science Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center. Key research thrust areas include: radar and infrared imaging, laser ranging and imaging, and topographical studies
KACST collaborated with Stanford University and NASA in the final phase of the giant project "Gravity Probe-B". This final phase included the analysis of the space experiment data intended to test Einstein's theory of relativity from an experimental point of view. As a result of this collaboration, the research team published a scientific paper summarizing the results of the experiment
KACST and Boeing Corporation signed an agreement to establish a "Decision Support Center" in Riyadh to contribute to the process of advanced analog and simulations in aerospace analytic activities. The center's advanced tools will assist users in exploring instantaneously proposed systems and designs in an interactive environment, in order to help make better decisions on supporting, modernizing and operating aerospace platforms.
KACST is partnered with GeoEye, Inc., a premier provider of satellite and aerial-based geospatial information and services, which enables users to directly downlink high-resolution satellite imagery from the GeoEye-1 Earth-imaging satellite. In addition to directly acquiring GeoEye-1 imagery, KACST is able to provide other GeoEye-1 imagery and value-added products to its customers. KACST has the exclusive right to sell GeoEye-1 imagery in Saudi Arabia and the nonexclusive right to sell GeoEye-1 imagery outside of Saudi Arabia. KACST has been GeoEye's partner and regional affiliate for IKONOS satellite imagery collection and distribution since September 2002.
KACST and Lockheed Martin - one of the world's largest defense contractors and manufacturer of a range of innovative electronic, information, aeronautic and space systems ? have signed an agreement to work together, which will help to promote science and technology in Saudi Arabia. KACST and Lockheed will undertake joint research projects within the framework of this scientific partnership. Lockheed is organized around four core business areas, including aeronautics, electronic systems, information systems & global solutions and space systems.
KACST is both the Kingdom's National Science Agency and its National Laboratories, and its responsibilities include developing science, technology and innovation policy and programs, as well as funding external research that contributes towards advancing science, technology and innovation in the Kingdom. KACST coordinates the development and implementation of the Kingdom's National Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation and the various initiatives and programs of the various stakeholders in the government and the private sectors. KACST has also entered into special international collaborations with the global technological leaders in key areas to advance the Kingdom's policies and aims. KACST is focusing its programs on developing a set of 16 strategic technologies and scientific fields for the Kingdom, prominent amongst which is Space and Aeronautics Technologies. The KACST Space and Aeronautics Technology Program has been set up to research and find solutions for the specific needs that Saudi Arabia has in space exploration and aeronautics. There are several research thrusts on which scientist at KACST are focusing their efforts, mainly on the design, development and building of satellites for earth observation, telecommunications, navigation and launch services, and on aeronautic and aviation themes, in terms of aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle development. Since HH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz put Saudi Arabia on the space map in 1985, when he became the first Saudi, first Prince and first Muslim in Space, the Kingdom has been committed to developing technologies in this fast moving and exciting sector, and is collaborating with some of the world's most reputable partners. One of the most high profile of KACST's partners is NASA, with whom KACST is working on several projects including the Gravity Probe-B Experiment, and the partnership between the Saudi Lunar and Near-Earth Object Science Center and NASA's Lunar Science Institute.