Tunisia has launched its first home-made satellite. Challenge ONE was launched on 22 March with the help of a Russian launching rocket from a base in Kazakhstan.
The unmanned rocket took off from Baikonour Cosmodrome, carrying 37 other satellites from 17 other countries including Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany and South Korea.
The aim of the satellite is to promote Internet of Things (IoT) applications. According to the University World News website, this support for IoT could also help to advance access to education by allowing the transmission of useful data and communication in areas such as transport, agriculture and logistics.
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. A constellation of 30 satellites is expected to be launched by 2023.
Challenge ONE, a research and innovation project that offers a new approach to information technology and its practical application, is Africa’s first satellite of 2021.
As of June 2020, 11 African countries (Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Sudan) had successfully launched 41 satellites into orbit. Of these, 29 were manufactured by foreign companies. The remaining 12 satellites were developed locally by African engineers, according to the website Space in Africa.