It is the African Version of Space Race
Since Egypt launched its first satellite in 1988, eleven countries on the continent have followed
suit and others are preparing to join the small and exclusive African club of space “powers.”
A total of 41 African satellites, three of which are the result of multilateral cooperation and the
rest belonging to Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Angola,
Sudan and Ethiopia, are now in orbit, although none of them were launched from African soil.
But what is the use of these expensive machines for a continent that is home to the world’s
poorest of the poor?
Like most other satellites from the United States, Europe, Russia, China, India or the United
Arab Emirates, most of these African machines are designed to provide services to the people.
For example, they are used to manage natural resources and facilitate relief in the event of a
crisis. They are also used to collect data to help make decisions, but also to transmit
information. These satellites are therefore used for a variety of purposes.
Remote sensing satellites are used to monitor the earth’s surface, oceans and atmosphere and
the changes they undergo. Today, these tools play an essential role in supporting efforts to
protect the global environment on a daily basis. In remote areas, for example, they are used in
telemedical services that compensate for the lack of public health centers. That was one of the
reasons why Angola had launched its first satellite in 2017.
Observation satellites are useful during natural disasters.
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