South African National Space Agency (SANSA) on Thursday, September 17, 2020, hosted journalists to a virtual media briefing, where the duo of South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande and SANSA’s CEO, Valanathan Munsami answered questions on South Africa’s USD266 million Space Hub. Both men discussed the projections for the Space Hub, including the proposed launch of six satellites in the next four years.
As SANSA is promising to expand its frontiers in satellite launching, a South African Company, Netloxh, is also promising to rival Elon Musk’s SpaceX from South Africa. In this feature story, the CEO of Netloxh discusses their plans for the continent and global competitors.
Angola’s AngoSat-2 satellite has also been announced for a scheduled March 2022 launching as Burkina Faso unveils ground station, begins construction of their first satellite, BurkinaSat-1. More stories across the continent.
Projects, Announcements, Deals and Events
Across the continent, several partnerships were announced towards advancing the African Space Industry. Azerbaijan’s Azercosmos extends partnership with Globecast for further coverage in Africa, while also entering a partnership with ViewMedia to deliver Satellite Solutions across the continent. In the same light, Eutelsat, a European satellite operator announced new deals across the continent. Eutelsat signed an agreement with Paratus, an internet service provider, for the distribution of EUTELSAT KONNECT Capacity Over South Africa. Similarly, Azam TV migrated their broadcast services to EUTELSAT 7C in a multi-year contract extension for additional capacity.
As private companies jostle for market grab in Africa, governments are also announcing essential projects across the industry. Egypt is currently working on an animated series for its young population to motivate interests in the space industry. To achieve this, Egypt has signed an agreement with an animation company to design and work on the short series. Also on learning, Egypt Space Agency hosted the Arab Academy of Sciences to discuss the future of Space learning in Egypt. A significant deal out of Egypt is Saudi Telecom’s re-negotiation of USD 2.39 billion offer for Vodafone Egypt.
Nigeria is in the news for several projects across the West African nation. The Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), an air traffic control agency based in Dakar, Senegal, and Nigeria’s NIGCOMSAT are providing Africa’s first early SBAS open service. Also, NigComSat is collaborating with the Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme to use satellite data to advance health scheme in the country. Meanwhile, Rural Farmers Hub is set to launch Village Chief, a satellite-enabled big data analytics dashboard. The Nigeria-based agritech startup developed a remote extension service delivery application called Capture and is working on a big data analytics technology named Village Chief. While Capture is a remote extension delivery software that provides farmers with advisory services via SMS or voice app, Village chief is a big data analytics dashboard, that helps farm organisations, industries, corporates and government make critical agribusiness decisions; both applications leverage satellite data extensively. Also, Nigeria’s telecom regulator issued landing permits for thirteen additional Space Stations in the country. During the NASRDA Space week event, QED, a private company, mentioned that it is mapping Nigeria to help reduce conflict between Farmers and Herders.
In a significant development, Algeria’s Space Agency has embarked on culture preservation projects with the Ministry of Culture and Arts. UKSA is providing funding for a Ghana forest management project using EO, while SARAO’s SKA completes final reviews ahead of construction.
As countries announce new partnerships and projects, USA is raising the alarm over Chinese deals with Kenya.
Earth Observation features multiple times as we analyse the importance of EO in the African space sector. We uncover why EO is essential for Space Development in Africa, while also discussing why cross-sectoral collaboration is vital for earth observation in Africa. Being a necessary feature in the African space industry, we analyse the importance of Earth Observation in policy development across Africa.
Away from EO, Elon Musk’s Starlink is promising to provide affordable and accessible internet connection across the world, and we analyse why that may not work in Africa.
As the pandemic intensifies around the world, it is crucial to examine the role of GNSS & Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) in fighting the spread of COVID-19. This analysis explores the challenges facing the African satellite industry in the registration of Space objects, as we also examine policy tools to address cybersecurity in the African Space Industry.
Exploring the interconnectivity of other sectors to the African space industry, we detail the role of media in bringing the space industry to everyday people towards achieving the Africa space program; how Telemedicine is going to reduce the challenges on access to medical aid in Africa; the possibility of a real estate market in space; the methods of procuring satellite in Africa; and how Navigation & Positioning will impact the Africa space strategy.
We shared essential articles published on different sectors of the industry, like this one on how AI and Satellite imagery will enhance solar installations in Nigeria, how this Space science project is opening up a new horizon for Africans, how satellite services played an essential role in mitigating the effect of the locust outbreak in East Africa, the importance of satellite internet in education across rural Zululand, and why Kenya should not abandon its Longonot satellite station.
In our interview series, we had a conversation with Algeria Blida Rocketry’s Project Manager, Aouimeur Mohamed Ramzi and Technical Lead, Mohamed El Mehdi Noui, and they give us exclusive updates on the Blida rocketry projects.
The space governance innovation contest has just ended, and we met the winning team, to discuss their journey through the competition, while also catching an exclusive interview with the best female participant.
Gilat Satellite networks limited, a global satellite networking company has announced its Q2 earnings, while also discussing an extended contract with Africa mobile networks.
Several opportunities were announced for space enthusiasts around the continent, some running through till December 2020. The AfAS 2021 USD900 seed research grant is now open to researchers across the continent. There is also an ongoing call for research fellows in satellite observations of African Tropical Convection. The call for entries for SANSA’s postgraduate bursaries, 2021, has been extended until 9 October 2020, as applications are now open for Space-Tech Challenge 2020, with a prize of USD12,500. Space Foundation is also calling all student artists for an Out-of-This-World Competition with entries closing in December 2020. Nigeria is hosting the ActInSpace International Space Hackathon 2020 in November, register to attend.