Could Tanzania be the next African country to launch its own satellite?

Tanzania has secured what is described as a crucial position in orbit at 16 degrees West for its own satellite, paving the way for its first satellite launch.

Tanzania has secured what is described as a crucial position in orbit at 16 degrees West for its own satellite, paving the way for its first satellite launch.

This achievement was announced recently by Minister of Information, Communication and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye, who described it as one of the fruits of the 2023 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23).

In July the minister had pledged the government's commitment to launching the country's maiden satellite within the year, though an actual launch date does not yet appear to have been supplied.

As local paper The Citizen points out, the potential of a national satellite for Tanzania is vast, including communication, agriculture, disaster management, natural resource exploration and other vital economic sectors.

Of course a number of African countries have already launched satellites, led by Egypt with nine satellites in orbit, South Africa (eight), Algeria (seven), and Nigeria (six), along with Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Mauritius. Most recently, the Republic of Djibouti launched its first satellite, Djibouti 1A, onboard the SpaceX Transporter-9.

According to a number of press reports, Senegal is also preparing for the launch of its first satellite, initially scheduled for 2021 and postponed to 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this now appears to be taking place in the first quarter of 2024.

And only a little over a month ago, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) signed a memorandum of understanding to develop, launch, and operate an earth observation satellite for Mauritius.

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