Senegal have made plans to stamp its authority in the African space ecosystem, and key players in the country’s space industry have laid out a timeline to actualise this, specifically setting a target of two years to launch the country’s first nano-satellite.
Following the visit by Senegal’s Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation to the University Space Centre of Montpellier (CSUM) on Friday July 5th 2019, the Minister embarked on another visit to the ArianeGroup facilities on the site of Les Mureaux in the Paris region. This visit was part of the memorandum of understanding signed between the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the ARIANEGROUP Company on January 14th 2019.
The grand plan is for Senegal is to take advantage of space applications for the economic, social and scientific development of the country. The aim of the Memorandum of Understanding with the ARIANEGROUP Company is to identify the different possible cooperation schemes around the design, development and construction of a Center (M-AIT) for satellites weighing less than 50 kg. (CubeSats). The goal is to create a real local ecosystem of scientific research and industrial innovation in the space sector, in partnership with universities and companies, promoting natural opportunities for students with a network of start-ups dedicated to high technologies, which is what the space industry needs.
Thanks to this agreement, a first Senegalese nano-satellite developed in partnership with the CSUM, which would involve the input of Senegalese scientists and researchers as well as students, could be launched before 2021.
Senegal’s M-AIT center could equally see the light of day by 2022, thus bringing Senegal into the very closed circle of African countries with ambitions in the space industry.
Jerry Chiemeke is an editor, writer and mental health advocate. His works have appeared in Bellanaija, True Nollywood Stories, Music In Africa and The Guardian, among others. Jerry is the winner of the 2017 Ken Saro Wiwa Prize for Reviews. He is a Senior Editor at Space in Africa.