In today’s world, having a satellite in orbit is considered a leap in technological development. At present, 8 of the 52 African countries have achieved this fate but only four currently have functional satellites.
Technology is a significant part of our lives, and countries are assessed based on their technological progress. It is due to that fact technological progress affects the welfare of its population.
As a result, countries spend millions of dollars to launch one for communication, military or other developmental purposes.
Only twelve (USSR, USA, France, Japan, China, UK, India, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Iran and North Korea) from the 83 countries with satellites orbiting the earth and one regional organization (the European Space Agency, ESA) have independently launched satellites.
While Ghana stands as the only African country to have indigenously developed a satellite and launched it.
Here is the list of African countries with functional satellite(s) orbiting the earth.
1. Angola – 2017 (1)
Angola is the newest country in Africa to launch a satellite into the orbit. The name of the gadget is AngoSat-1 and was built with an estimated cost of $300 million.
The satellite was launched into space on December 26, 2017. AngoSat-1 is aimed at improving telecommunication services, telemedicine and other developmental projects.
AngoSat-1 has an expected working life of 15 years.
2. Ghana – 2017 (1)
Ghana is the first African country to indigenously developed a satellite. GhanaSat-1 was developed by three students at All Nations University, Ghana.
The gadget was assessed and found fit by both Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
GhanaSat-1 was put into the space on July 7, 2017, and its main mission is to investigate radiation effects on satellite systems in space which are degraded due to the harsh space environment.
3. Nigeria – 2003 (2)
Nigeria first launched a satellite named Nigeriasat-1 into orbit in 2003. The gadget was built with an estimated cost of $13 million. Its expected life was 5 years but it lasted 8 years (2012).
In 2011, the country launched NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X satellites into orbit aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket. These are the two functional satellites of the country.
Also, a Nigerian satellite (NigComSat) which was launched on May 17, 2008 has gone missing in the space.
4. South Africa – 1999 (5)
South Africa is the first African country to launch a satellite into space and has the highest number of satellites in the orbit.
South African first satellite – SUNSAT, was launched in 1999. More so, the country also launched its first biggest private satellite - nSight1 was launched on April 28, 2017.
It was also locally built and designed in South Africa. The gadget will help to capture images with its remote sensing camera.