The Islamic Satellite
Kingdom in Bid to Use Islamic Satellite for Moon Sighting
: "RIYADH, 15 April 2005 — Saudi Arabia together with some Islamic countries are working on a pioneering project to launch a satellite, which will be used for moon sighting to decide accurate dates of religious rituals and festivals in the Islamic calendar.
A 15-member panel from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain has already decided in consultation with the Cairo University’s Space Studies Center to award the contract for manufacturing this first Islamic satellite to an Italian company at a cost of SR30 million.
“The Islamic satellite, expected to be used in crescent sighting and studying environment pollution and movement of clouds, will be put in orbit by the end of this year”, said Dr. Ali Juma, chief of the 15-member panel. Dr. Juma said that “the satellite would solve many problems related to crescent sighting . Differences over the lunar months have prompted Arab and Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia to support the project”."