President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi has recently launched an ambitious satellite project which will see Bostwana developing its own space programme. The programme will lead to the Southern Africa country owning a home-grown nanosatellite.
The launch of the space programme is in line with Masisi’s development agenda of harnessing a knowledge-based economy as he proudly singled out the Botswana International University Of Science And Technology for its remarkable response to his rallying call. He mentioned that despite the hardship brought about by the ongoing pandemic, it is these adverse effects of the pandemic that had emboldened commitment to investing in the satellite project and harnessing it.
“It will take three years, will require full commitment and selfless dedication. It will be demanding as it is the first time the nation will be launching a satellite into space. However, if we capitalise on the data and apply it in various industries (current focus is on Agriculture), it would contribute to the growth and development of the nation” the President added.
The program aims to launch an Earth observation 3U nanosatellite into space in the next three years with the ambition of launching bigger satellites such as 6U and 12U in the future in order to create a constellation. This program will domicile in the Botswana International University of Science, Technology (BIUST) in collaboration with local, regional and international partners.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, African space industry keeps growing, with additional countries developing space programs, and space investment going up. As of July 2020, 19 African countries have established or began the process of creating a space programme. With Bostwana announcing a space program, this brings the number to 20. In addition, Ethiopia second satellite launched yesterday made it Africa’s 42nd satellite to be launched.