Tunisia launches first locally made satellite
London, March 22, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Tunisia has joined the giant in space technology after its first satellite, Challenge ONE was successfully launched onboard Soyuz-2 rocket on Monday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Challenge ONE is a research and innovation project that offers a new approach to information technology and its practical application. The results of Challenge ONE by Telnet will be used to create a constellation of 30 satellites.
Tunisia’s first locally made satellite , Challenge ONE is also Africa’s first satellite of 2021, bringing the total number of African satellites to 43. Only one satellite was launched by the continent in 2020, while eight were launched in 2019.
Tunisia is the first country in the Maghreb to manufacture its own satellite, and the sixth on the African continent.
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.
Tunisia says it hopes to launch 20 more in the next 3 years.
The African space market is now worth over $7 billion annually, according to the website Space in Africa, which reports that it ”is likely to grow over 40 percent in the next five years”.