The people of Rwanda join in the jubilation that is ongoing in West London, UK and Virginia, US for the successful launch of OneWeb’s first constellation of six satellites, one of which is expected to provide broadband internet to rural schools in Rwanda.
#Rwanda and @OneWeb partner to launch #Icyerekezo satellite (named by students from Nkombo Island), to connect schools in remote areas to the internet. Please watch the launch live @rbarwanda on Wednesday 27/02/2019, at 23:37. #InternetForSchools pic.twitter.com/4SnQvMKncD
— MINICT | Rwanda (@RwandaICT) February 26, 2019
The first six satellites for OneWeb’s mega-constellation were launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. The launch was earlier postponed for one day by Arianespace – the launch service provider, following an anomaly in the Soyuz-2.1b launcher, used to ferry EgyptSat-A into orbit, a few days to the OneWeb’s launch using Soyuz ST-B rocket, a variant for the Soyuz launcher.
The first six satellites are pathfinders in a massive constellation OneWeb is building to provide high-speed satellite internet to remote communities around the world.
The Government of Rwanda partnered with OneWeb to launch the satellite to provide broadband internet to schools in remote communities in Rwanda. The satellite was nicknamed Icyerekezo (meaning Vision) by students from Groupe Secondaire St Pierre Nkombo in Nkombo Island.
The partnership will provide schools in remote communities with internet connectivity to join the nation-wide ICT programs in schools, Rwandan Ministry of ICT and Innovation said on Wednesday.
Groupe Scolaire St Pierre Nkombo, located on Nkombo Island in the middle of Lake Kivu, will be the first beneficiary of the broadband connectivity that the Icyerekezo satellite will provide, according to the New Times.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Editor at Space in Africa. He writes about Africa’s NewSpace companies and emerging national space programs.