Rwanda has submitted ITU filing for 27 orbital shells of 327,320 satellites

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.

On 21st September, the Rwandan Government submitted an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) filing for two satellite constellations named CINNAMON-217 and CINNAMON-937 at Non-geostationary orbital positions. CINNAMON-217 will have 217 planes, and CINNAMON-937 will have 937 planes. 

Frequency Table of API CINNAMON-937 and CINNAMON-217

According to the filing to the ITU, the API filing of CINNAMON-217 is a subset of the CINNAMON-937. It has the same beams and assignments as CINNAMON-937, but the orbital characteristics are different; it has only seven orbital shells. Each orbital shell, except the equatorial shell made of one single plane, has 8,640 satellites. The seven orbital shells comprise 52,080 satellites. In addition, an orbital shell is here defined as the set of orbits with the same inclination. There are 27 of such orbital shells. Each orbital shell, except the equatorial shell made of one single plane, has 12,960 satellites. The 27 orbital shells comprise 327,320 satellites.

Orbit Parameters of API CINNAMON-937

This filing follows up on an earlier filing of ANTON-1N0 on 20th August 2021, which was done under the name ‘MARVEL SPACE COMMUNICATIONS CO’ with 181 planes. The filing of ANTON-1N0 was unsuccessful.

“Filings with the ITU are essential to register satellite frequencies and orbital slots and to secure the possibility of future satellite launches. This process is consistent with the ambition of the Government of Rwanda to make space a new frontier for our national development. With the technology now available to make full use of these slots, Rwanda plans to develop projects that will provide various essential services and open up the country as a hub for the African space industry”. – Francis Ngabo, Chief Executive officer of the Rwandan space agency.

Rwanda launched its first satellite, RwaSat-1, in 2019 with the help of Japan, and in March 2021, Rwanda’s Chamber of Deputies voted on the law establishing the Rwanda Space Agency (RSA). “The establishment of Rwanda Space Agency aims at having coordination of Rwanda’s space sector activities geared towards securing communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) as well as purchasing and playing a custodian role of national spatial data and imagery”, said the Chamber of Deputies earlier in March.

Before RwaSat-1, it was involved in the Icyerekezo satellite launched as part of OneWeb’s constellation, aimed at providing internet to remote schools in the country. Regarding this filing, it is not clear what the plan of the Rwandan government is. The East African country may be planning a constellation of communications satellites through the government agency or a new private establishment, or it may be related to its investment in OneWeb. 

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