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Cote d'Ivoire Unveils Date of First Satellite Launch

© Photo JSC Academician MF Reshetnev Information Satellite SystemsRendering of Meridian satellite.
Rendering of Meridian satellite. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 03.05.2023
According to the Space Generation Advisory Council, an NGO, African nations have managed to launch 20 satellites. The space race continues, and following satellite launches by Kenya, Zimbabwe and Egypt, Cote d'Ivoire is now poised to step up to the plate.
Cote d'Ivoire expects to launch its first satellite called the YAM-SAT CI 01 by August 2024, explained Adama Diawara, Minister of Higher Education and Research, during the NewSpace Africa conference held in Abidjan, the largest Ivorian city.
This spacecraft can help prevent natural disasters and measure the extent of deforestation, said the minister. It could also provide support in the fight against terrorism or be used to monitor illegal activities, such as illicit gold mining, the minister stressed.
"This monitoring can help protect biodiversity, prevent deforestation and desertification, and ensure effective management of natural resources. Nanosatellites or drones can help monitor disasters," he said.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the crew capsule Endeavour lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, March 2, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 15.04.2023
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The project has been running for several years, since feasibility studies had been launched in 2015 by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara. The construction of the satellite is 100% Ivorian and has been entrusted to the company Universal Konstructors Associated (UKA) in partnership with the Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet-Boigny (INP-HB) in the country's capital Yamoussoukro.
Cote d'Ivoire also intends to create its own space agency, as Adama Diawara had already announced in 2021. The minister also called on African countries to pool their expertise to build partnerships and advance space research on the continent. He mentioned the key role of the African Union in this sector.
"The space policy and strategy of the African Union must be one of the drivers of African security. We must be aware that alone we will not be able to make much progress. Space agencies and companies in this sector must take advantage of this framework to build cooperation with strategic partners," he told NewSpace Africa.
Apart from Cote d'Ivoire, some other African countries have embarked on conquering space in recent months. Several countries have launched their first satellites recently, sometimes turning to foreign partners for orbiting. In mid-April, Kenya launched its first satellite via a SpaceX rocket, while Angola turned to Russia in order to launch a Proton rocket.