Key Players and Trends in African Space Industry

African space industry, Sunsat, South Africa, University of Stallenbosch, Mark Shuttleworth , the first African to go to space, South African National Space Agency , Square Kilometer Array , NigeriaSat-1 , EgyptSat 1, Egypt,

Many African countries are improving their space programs. Recently, the African Union (AU) also launched the African Space Policy and Strategy for controlling space industry. South Africa remains to be the hub of the African most developed program space industry in Africa.

There are many key trends that have taken place in the South African space industry. In 1999 Sunsat was launched at the University of Stellenbosch. Sunsat and it became Orbit’s first-ever satellite. Thereafter, Mark Shuttleworth became the first African to go to space. The latter happened in 2002 courtesy of Russian flight to the International Space Station. Moreover, in 2010, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established. Later on, in 2017, two nanosatellites were launched at Cape Canaveral Florida on 18th April 217. Additionally, there are plans to construct radio telescope in South Africa in 2018. This is part of the planned Square Kilometer Array which will be the largest in the world.

In 2001, Nigeria’s government established Nigeria National Space Research and Development Agency. That is the time when the first development in the industry took place in Nigeria. Nigeria had its second development in 2003 where it launched its first satellite. NigeriaSat-1 was launched courtesy of Kosmos-3M rocket from Russia’s Plesetsk spaceport. After that, they managed to launch five other websites including NigComSat-1R. NigComSat-1 was the first communication satellite to be launch in Africa. In January 2017, Nigeria secured a deal worth $550 million with China. The deal will help to develop two new communication satellites in the country. The goal is to increase the continent’s share of the $260 billion global satellite industry. Moreover, Nigeria has launched initiatives to send its first astronaut into space by 2030.

There are other countries that are following the footsteps of Nigeria and South Africa. Egypt launched its first Earth remote sensing satellite, EgyptSat 1. It was launched on a Dnepr rocket from Ukraine in 2007. The second one was launched in 20014.  The country is also planning to launch EgyptSat-A, a Russian made satellite in 2019.

Additionally, the first communication satellite Alcomsat-1was launched in Algeria in December 2017. The satellite is a Chinese version Long Made 3B/G2. Morocco also managed to launch Mohammed VI-A which is its first spy satellite in 2017. GhanaSat-1 developed by All Nations University in Koforidua students in July 2017. This was the first satellite to be launched in Ghana at a cost of $500,000. The last development is the plans by Ethiopia to send its first satellite into space. This will help them to monitor the weather. The development is expected to take place in a period of the next three to five years.

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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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