Angola eyes new satellite as African space race accelerates

WARSAW, Poland — Whereas Angola’s first telecom satellite tv for pc, Angosat-1, failed not lengthy after reaching orbit late final 12 months, the sub-Saharan African nation will get a second shot at satellite tv for pc possession with the deliberate 2020 launch of Angosat-2.

In the meantime, because the house race intensifies throughout the continent, numerous African nations, together with Ghana, Morocco and Algeria, are creating their respective house packages, and native observers say that the African Union might bolster these efforts and act as a platform for worldwide house cooperation.

Angosat-1 launched in December from the Baikonur house middle in Kazakhstan onboard a Zenit 3F rocket. Russia’s RSC Energia, a subsidiary of the state-run house business participant Roscosmos, constructed the satellite tv for pc. On Dec. 27, the Russian producer mentioned that contact was misplaced with the satellite tv for pc, however communication was restored the identical week. Ultimately, the satellite tv for pc stopped sending knowledge and Energia confirmed it was inoperable.

Angola’s Nationwide House Programme Administration Workplace (GGPEN) says the Angosat-2 is to “cowl the entire territory of Angola, Africa and components of Europe, offering telecommunications providers with 16 transponders in C-band and 6 Ku-band transponders,” — similar as Angosat-1.

The Angolan authorities initiated the Angosat mission by a decree handed in January 2006. The identical 12 months, a Russian consortium fashioned by state-run firms started to check the viability of the mission, and in 2009, Angola’s authorities signed an settlement with Russia to develop the Angosat-1. As a part of the deal, Energia constructed a management middle in Funda, in north-western Angola, manned by native staff.

In a Might 14 assertion, the GGPEN mentioned that the Angosat-2 will launch in 2020. Insurance coverage price $121 million for Angosat-1 will go towards Angosat-2, whereas Russia covers the remaining $199 million, based on Broadcast and Media Africa.

In an April 23 assertion, RSC Energia mentioned it’ll “fulfill all contractual obligations to take part within the growth of the satellite tv for pc communication and broadcasting system of Angola.”

“Within the close to future, [the] technical parameters of Angosat-2 will probably be agreed upon, and we’ll start to fabricate it,” Vladimir Sontsev, the overall director of RSC Energia, was quoted within the assertion.

Requested concerning the parameters of the designed satellite tv for pc, a spokesperson for RSC Energia instructed table4 that, below “the phrases of the settlement with [our] Angolan companions, we can not present this info” and declined additional remark.

The GGPEN didn’t reply to a request for remark by publication time.

African house race accelerates

African house business observers say that Angola is an element of a bigger development throughout Africa the place numerous nations have intensified their efforts to develop their respective house packages.

“Angola is among the many African nations that lately introduced a program to develop their house program and are anticipated to launch a satellite tv for pc within the coming years,” Richard Damoah, an assistant analysis scientist who works on the Sciences and Exploration Directorate of NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart, instructed table4. “To coordinate house actions on the continent, the African Union member states have determined to ascertain the African House Company, and, as a primary step, they adopted the African House Coverage and Technique throughout their assembly in [Ethiopia’s capital] Addis Ababa in early 2016. They’re at present within the means of deciding on the place to ascertain the headquarters of the company.”

Different African nations which have accelerated their space-focused efforts embody Ghana, which can be an African Union member state, and which efficiently launched its first satellite tv for pc, the GhanaSat-1 cubesat, final 12 months.

Damoah, who coordinated Ghana’s cubesat mission, mentioned its principal targets are to “monitor the coastal boundaries of the nation,” and to “prepare younger science, know-how, engineering and arithmetic college students in satellite tv for pc know-how.”

Alongside its companions, Ghana can be concerned within the Africa Initiative for Planetary and House Sciences, whose targets embody offering a discussion board for African planetary and house scientists with their worldwide friends by facilitating cross-border collaborations, based on Damoah.

Different African nations which have bolstered their house efforts over the previous years embody Morocco and Algeria. Final November, Morocco launched its Mohammed-6A Earth statement satellite tv for pc. Developed by a consortium fashioned by Thales Alenia House and Airbus Defence and House. The satellite tv for pc launched Nov. 7 to low Earth orbit on an Arianespace Vega rocket from French Guiana. The nation is anticipated to launch Mohammed 6-B, its second Earth-observation satellites, this 12 months.

In the meantime, Morocco’s regional rival Algeria launched its first communication satellite tv for pc, Alcomsat-1, from China on Dec. 11. China Nice Wall Trade Corp., the Alcomsat-1 prime contractor, launched the satellite tv for pc utilizing a Lengthy March-3B launch car.

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