Three Rwandan engineers with the support of a team of Japanese at Tokyo University have built a satellite that will be launched into orbit next month.
Known as RWASAT-1 the satellite is ready to be launched into orbit after it’s September 24 launch into the International Space Station.
RWASAT-1 is a mini satellite, commonly as CubeSats. Such tiny satellites are deployed into low earth orbit so they can send information to ground stations.
The announcement of the launch into orbit was made on Tuesday in at a press conference.
It was a joint press conference between the Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority (RURA), the Ministry of ICT & Innovation, and the Japanese Embassy.
Patrick Nyirishema, RURA Director-General told journalists that there is a higher probability that the launch will take place on “November 18”.
Nyirishem added that “Rwanda is new on this journey of lean space technology, but we chose to build capacities on this initial journey.”
“In the past, satellite technology was in bulk satellites that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
We are now going into a time where it’s possible to build low-cost satellites that can achieve many applications,” he added.
Rwanda’s Minister for ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire also said “Since we signed the agreement with the University of Tokyo, it has opened doors to Rwandan engineers to use their laboratories for assembly, integration, and testing of RWASAT-1”.
Current satellite exploration activities by Rwanda according to officials is part of the bigger National Space Programme of the country.
The country wants to leverage the satellite programme to promote precision agriculture.
Kenya and Ghana have also in the past made efforts to launch their own satellites into space and subsequently into orbit.
There are growing efforts by many African countries to advance their space programmes.