Ivorian First Satellite, YAM-SAT CI 01, Scheduled for Launch in 2024

Universal Konstructors Associated (UKA), in partnership with the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INP-HP) and other stakeholders, has announced that Ivorian first nanosatellite programme, YAM-SAT CI 01, will be placed in orbit by Q3, 2024. Boubacar Fofana, one of the project’s principal officers, announced this during the 2023 NewSpace Africa Conference in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The satellite project, which is expected to be wholly manufactured in Côte d’Ivoire, underlines the growing space ecosystem in the country. In addition, it will be actualised through a public-private partnership to allow the nation to build the necessary infrastructure that is tailor-made to meet the needs of the citizens.

Côte d’Ivoire has a rich agricultural sector – the world’s largest producer of cocoa and is among the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. However, despite the significant investment in the sector, agricultural productivity in Côte d’Ivoire remains low compared to other countries in the region, partly due to the prevalence of small-scale, subsistence farming and a lack of access to modern inputs and technologies, which reduces productivity.  

Besides facing economic difficulties, Ivory Coast’s cocoa farmlands are also threatened by climate change’s impacts on Ivory Coast’s cocoa production in many ways. For example, rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns lead to more frequent droughts, damaging cocoa trees and reducing yields. In addition, extreme weather events such as floods and storms can damage cocoa crops and disrupt transportation and infrastructure, making it more difficult for farmers to bring their produce to market.

YAM-SAT Ci 01, thanks to its onboard hyperspectral camera, will provide actionable intelligence for Ivorian farmers to enable them to adapt to climate change through smart inputs and precision agriculture. This would include 

  • crop mapping to survey the location and extent of different crops, which can help farmers to make more informed decisions about what to plant and where;
  • soil mapping to analyse soil properties and identify areas of soil degradation to help farmers make more informed decisions about soil management practices, such as fertiliser application and other soil amendments; and
  • monitoring crop health and identifying outbreaks of pests and diseases to enable farmers to take timely action to prevent or control outbreaks, which can help to reduce crop losses and improve yields.

Furthermore, the satellite is expected to be vital in enhancing national security. By providing high-resolution images, satellites can enable relevant stakeholders, such as the military, law enforcement agencies, and other security personnel, to make informed decisions about various activities, including maritime surveillance, border patrol, and illegal mining. With this information, authorities can act appropriately to prevent and mitigate potential security threats, strengthening its national security and ensuring the safety and well-being of its citizens.