In a bid to improve decision making in sectors such as agriculture, aviation, national security, disaster management and weather forecast, Rwanda is set to launch a satellite into orbit in May.
Rwanda will join Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa as the only African countries with satellites in the orbit.
Last year, Rwanda signed a Space Inclusion in Africa agreement with Japanese government to train Rwandan engineers in fabricating local satellites.
The progamme is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
A team of Rwandan engineers are currently at the University of Tokyo working on design and building of the satellite with their Japanese counterparts on the project.
Speaking to the local media, Patrick Nyirishema, Director General of Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority (RURA) revealed that it will be launched in Kigali in May after Transform Africa summit.
“We are trying to shorten the timeline. It will be launched after the Transform Africa summit,”
A model of the Rwanda satellite prototype was first displayed at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali
RURA disclosed that another team of 15 engineers will be trained locally in satellite technology.
“Satellite technology will not only build capabilities for our people, it will also give us capacity, for instance, to inspect certain activities within the agriculture sector, monitor wetlands as part of environment conservation efforts, and in smart urban planning,” Nyirishema pointed out.
According to Space in Africa, commercial space launch services are a rapidly growing sector of the space industry. The sub-sector, which is projected to hit US$7 billion market size by 2024, includes spaceports, launch vehicles and navigation services.
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