ground control

Africa’s satellite market is now open; 20 projects ready to take off

By Marie Toulemonde

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Posted on July 26, 2021 05:38

Satellite TAR-02

Despite a gap in 2020, the continent wants to take part in conquering space. Since the beginning of the year, three satellites have been launched and some 20 projects are about to get underway.

On 22 March 2021, Tunisia kicked things off by launching its very first satellite: Challenge One, an Internet of Things satellite that was designed and built entirely by TelNet, a national company. But it was not the only African satellite onboard the Soyuz-2 rocket that took off that day from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Simba, a nanosatellite jointly designed by three universities – Israeli, Italian and Kenyan – also took to space. The ‘CubeSat’ – this type of nanosatellite’s nickname – will be entirely dedicated to observing wildlife within Kenya’s natural parks, thanks to special sensors that will be placed on certain animals. It will be able to transmit data on the movements and migratory patterns of protected species.

And in Mauritius, MirSat 1 – a satellite that was also designed locally – was launched on 3 June.

A sovereignty issue

No African country has the capacity to

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