Africa in Space

 

Africa was not seen in the race for space till now, after the failure of Angosat-1, but now with Anglosat-2, the sub-Saharan nation is trying its hands again in launching a telecom satellite.

To keep pace with the rest of the world, Ghana, Morocco, and Algeria are developing space programs. And African Union may boost their efforts by serving as a platform for international space cooperation.

Angosat- 1 which was launched in December last year from Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan, however, the telecom satellite failed after reaching the orbit. It was built by Roscosmos and became inoperable within a week of being established in orbit.

GGPEN, Angola’s National Space programme management office has announced the launch of Angola-2 by 2020, which would cover the area of Angola, Africa and certain parts of Europe. This telecommunication satellite with has sixteen transponders in C band and six in Ku band, which are similar to those in Angosat-1.

The government of Angola was assured by GGPEN, that Angosat-2 will be built at no additional cost and that RSC Energia will fulfil every statement mentioned in the contract. Soon after the technical parameters are agreed upon, the manufacturing process will be initiated.

Richard Damoah who is an assistant research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight centre stated that “Angola is among the African countries that recently announced a program to develop their space program and are expected to launch a satellite in the coming years.” African Union has decided to establish an African Space agency, through which they could coordinate with the happening across the globe. The location of the agency is yet to be determined but the efforts being made by the state in making the launch successful are appreciable.

Ghana, an African country has successfully launched its first satellite last year, namely GhanaSat-1. The satellite is meant to monitor cross-border areas and boundaries of the nation. The country is also actively participating in the African Initiative for planetary and Space Sciences. The motive of this organisation is facilitating the cross-border collaboration. Morocco and Algeria too are not much behind in their space efforts and if brought together can lead to an establishment of a strong research agency. Morocco launched Mohammed-6A satellite in November last year and is planning to launch Mohammed 6-B this year. Alcomsat-1, a communication satellite by Algeria was launched from China in December using Long March – 3B.