Burkina Faso, a landlocked Francophone West African country, has commenced the construction of its first satellite named BurkinaSat-1, an Earth observation nanosatellite.
According to reports from the country’s local media, President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso announced the launch of the construction phase of the satellite following a media unveiling of the ground station recently built as phase one milestone of the satellite construction project.
The satellite project is led by Professor Frédéric Ouattara who won the Africa Award for Research Excellence in Space Science from the American Geophysical Union in 2018. Professor Ouattara is the President of Norbert-Zongo University in Koudougou where the newly-built ground station is located.
The satellite will be built locally at the Norbert-Zongo University with resources and talent sourced in-country and from the diaspora. President Kobore confirmed that his government is providing 110 million FCFA (approx USD 200,000 ) in funding for the procurement of components for the satellite project.
The launch of the construction phase follows the successful completion of the first phase of the project which focused on the construction of the ground station.
“I am already looking forward to the opportunities that the ground station will bring in remote sensing and disaster prevention and other areas related to research and development,” reports Ecofin Agency quoting President Kaboré.
President Kabore said that the third phase comprising of the launch service and operationalization of the satellite for about three to five years of nominal life in orbit would cost additional 350 – 400 million FCFA (approx USD 640,000 to 740,000).
Professor Outtara presented the project to the government and secured the government’s commitment to fund the project in January 2019.
“The President has allowed Burkina Faso to become a space nation in a very short time. We are supported by researchers from our Energy and Meteorology Research Laboratory in the “LAREME” Space. We have in our team Burkinabè from the diaspora, with skills in engineering and in the field of space sciences,” reports Burkina24.com quoting Professor Ouattara.
Commenting on the satellite project, Burkina Faso’s minister in charge of scientific research, Prof. Alkassoum Maïga, said: “Burkina is proud of what has been done. If there is one project that needs to be moved forward, it is this one. It is of strategic interest; if only for our food security, to prevent disasters and certain diseases. We bet on the right horse.”