(Ecofin Agency) - The country should have launched its first satellite in 2021 but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senegal will launch its first satellite, GaindeSat, into orbit in the first quarter of 2024. The news was disclosed last week by the Senegalese Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI).
The nanosatellite was built over three years by Senegalese engineers and technicians. The latter were trained at the Centre Spatial Universitaire de Montpellier (CSUM), under a partnership with the Senegalese government. GaindeSat will be delivered to MESRI on November 10, then handed over to a not-yet-known launcher with whom a contract has already been signed.
Putting together and launching the satellite is the first step in Senegal's national space program, SenSAT. The latter aims to make the sector a real lever for the country's socio-economic development, through the design and operation of tools in space. Ultimately, the program should meet the country’s needs for space products and services, and help it become "a space hub in the sub-region".
GaindeSat is an Earth observation satellite. The data it will collect should help improve decision-making for natural resources and land management, disaster prevention, agriculture, etc.
Senegal plans to build and launch bigger satellites in the future, with a focus on telecommunications. Recently, the country has set up a center for space data reception and monitoring.
Isaac K. Kassouwi