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Spacecraft that spots Gulf gases wins extra funding

space greenhouse gas Satellite Alamy via Reuters
The joint Bahraini-British project will develop 'state of the art' sensing equipment to detect greenhouse gas emissions in Bahrain and the wider Gulf from space
  • Bahraini-British project
  • Monitors greenhouse emissions
  • Part of wider Gulf space efforts

A Bahraini-British project to develop a spacecraft that will monitor Gulf greenhouse gas emissions from space has been awarded a further £1.4 million ($1.8 million) grant by the UK Space Agency.

The partnership between the Bahrain National Space Science Agency, YBA Kanoo Group in Manama, and the University of Leicester and Geospatial Insight of Birmingham in the UK was one of 32 that received an initial £75,000 each in funding last year.

The project was awarded a second, much larger grant this week to develop what the British government describes as “state of the art” sensing equipment to detect greenhouse gas emissions in Bahrain and the wider Gulf from space.

Another 10 of the initial 32 projects also received further financial backing.

Bahrain’s greenhouse gas emissions nearly quadrupled from 1990 to 2020, while those from the broader Middle East and North Africa region almost trebled over the same period, the latest data from Climate Watch shows.

Other Gulf countries are also investing in developing space technologies. A Saudi-US joint venture in the kingdom will deploy satellite imagery to monitor infrastructure development, traffic congestion and carbon sequestration, the natural process of CO2 storage in the atmosphere.

The UAE aims to launch its first commercial satellite in 2026 as part of its wider Sirb satellite programme, while in March an Omani government official revealed that the sultanate had attracted investments worth OMR20 million ($52 million) in its space sector over the previous two years.

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