Egypt is set to launch a programme for the manufacturing of small satellites in universities across the country in a collaborative effort led by the Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA), the Academy for Scientific Research and Technology (ASR) and the Supreme Council of Universities.
The programme is one of the pillars contained in the National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2030 which was released in December by Egypt’s Higher Education and Scientific Research aimed at improving the country’s competitiveness in science research and development of indigenous technologies.
The strategy document, obtained by Space in Africa, outlined the Ministry’s intention to “establish a laboratory for educational satellites, electronic tests and space photographs processing.”
Egypt’s Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghafar yesterday confirmed plans for the launch of the programme while chairing the maiden meeting of the Egyptian Space Agency board alongside Mohamed El-Qosi, EgSA Chief Executive Officer.
Abdel-Ghafar further disclosed that the ministry will welcome a delegation from the French Space Agency to discuss space cooperation between both countries. Both parties will be looking to sign a memorandum of understanding on space cooperation.
The programme for the manufacturing of small satellites in universities across Egypt is a reflection of the country’s recent drive to revitalize its space sector and its ambition to become a space power in the Middle East and Africa.
Last year, Egypt launched four satellites into space, of which two were developed locally by Egyptian engineers at the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (now the Egyptian Space Agency). With a record nine satellites launched into space from 1998 to 2019 by Egypt’s Nilesat and the Egyptian government, Egypt currently tops the chart for the highest number of satellites launched by an African nation.
The North African country is also investing in other space infrastructure including a satellite assembly, integration and testing (AIT) centre, ground station facilities and the China-funded MisrSat II Earth observation satellite in collaboration with the Chinese government. Located in the iconic Egyptian Space City near the New Administrative Capital in Cairo, the space facilities, when completed, will boost Egypt’s competitiveness in space science research and technology development.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.