Bassam Alfeeli and Nada AlShammari are business partners with Orbital Space, a start-up that offers students and technology enthusiasts the opportunity to develop and test software code on satellites in space, through its ground station in ‘Dubai Silicon Oasis’.
After completing his engineering studies in the United States, Bassam returned to Dubai and witnessed the launch of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency. This stimulated him to pursue his cherished dream of participating in space missions. Thus, he created Orbital Space, together with Nada AlShammari. Nada is an educator, and she believes that the convergence of the arts and sciences will serve to innovate in the space sector.
For their first mission into space, the two combined their knowledge and developed a unique concept. “We decided to create a contest open to all students who wanted to propose a scientific experiment, which would be sent into space,” Bassam explains to Euronews.
They decided on a project that proposed to study the behavior of a genetically modified E. coli bacterium in space. They worked with the students for a year and eventually sent the payload to the International Space Station. “This experience was really wonderful for the students, and a successful starting point for thinking about what else is possible,” says Nada.See this publication on Instagram Une publication partagée par Orbital Space (@orbital.space)
In 2021, Orbital Space sent a ‘CubeSat’, a miniature square-shaped satellite, into space. Later, the startup built a ground station at the, where signals from this satellite are received. “The ground station makes it possible for students to develop, propose and send software code to the satellite,” explains Nada.
With the support of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center and Dubai Silicon Oasis, Orbital Space now plans its next interactions with space. “Our next missions will be to the Moon,” Bassam concludes.