Botswana set to launch first satellite, BotSat-1


WHILE addressing Botswana parliament in the annual State of the Nation Address, Botswana’s president Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed these plans noting that the country’s premier satellite will allow “water resource management, industrial development, environmental management, food security, land management and sustainable agriculture.”

“The Bot-SAT-1 will bring Botswana into the global satellite ecosystem for research and development in a variety 32 of disciplines,” he explained.

The satellite will elevate Botswana as a knowledge-based economy that can generate real-time information from space. It will boost communications, weather forecasting, and television broadcasting, all of which are central to the realisation of Botswana Vision 2036.

Like several African countries, Botswana has been at the forefront of utilising radio astronomy to increase monitoring consistent with the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network project.

Africa Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network is a pan-African project that allows African countries to interlink radio telescopes using broadband internet, enabling information sharing among parties.

The commitment to optimise capacity in radio astronomy through satellite technology has seen several African countries launch satellites.

Uganda and Zimbabwe are the most recent countries to launch their satellites into space with the help of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, raising the number of satellites in the continent to 52, spread across 14 African countries.

Uganda’s PearlAfricaSat-1 and Zimbabwe’s ZimSat-1 were built by domestic aerospace engineers from the individual countries and seek to actualise weather forecasting, border security monitoring and disaster prevention.

Nigeria is also seeking to launch two additional television and communications satellites into space through the Nigerian Communications Satellite, NigComSat. NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3 are projected to be unveiled by 2023 and 2025, respectively.

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