The launch of Tunisia’s first satellite, “Challenge ONE” has been postponed till March 2021, according to TELNET Holding Group, responsible for executing the project, and GK Launch Services, the company to launch the satellite.
Speaking on the development, TELNET mentioned that the proposed launch was moved to March 2020 as “this date will coincide with the celebration of the 65th anniversary of Tunisia’s independence”.
The Challenge ONE was announced in 2019 by Tunisian aerospace and telecommunications company, TELNET after it entered an agreement with the Russian operator of commercial launches of Soyuz-2 rockets, GK Launch Services. According to the agreement, Challenge ONE is going to be a precursor for a constellation of 30 satellites to be launched by 2023.
Part of the agreement also involved SPUTNIX, a Russian private company, manufacturing high-tech microsatellite components and technologies. SPUTNIX’s involvement was to facilitate the development of the satellites and the establishment of R & D services for satellite components. This inadvertently meant that Tunisia was going to develop its satellite.
Initially scheduled for a July 2020 launch from the Russian-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in south-central Kazakhstan aboard the Russian Soyuz-2.1A, the launch was eventually pushed for a November 2020 launch. The November launch has, however, equally been pushed further, and the satellite will now launch in 2021.
Challenge ONE is a scientific research and technology demonstrator satellite offering new concepts in information technologies and their practical applications. If launched, Challenge ONE will be Tunisia’s first satellite, and will possibly usher in a total of 30 satellites, according to the deal with SPUTNIX and GK Launch Services.