Botswana Aims to Launch First Satellite in 2025

Image: EnduroSat
Image: EnduroSat

EnduroSat, a Bulgaria-based satellite builder, is partnering with the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) to build the nation’s first satellite, the company announced Wednesday.

BOTSAT-1, built on EnduroSat’s 3U microsatellite platform, will carry a hyperspectral camera to support the country’s mining and agricultural industries. By monitoring and analyzing the country’s ground and soil content, Botswana hopes to diversify its mining operations and protect its agricultural sector from droughts and food insecurity.

Hello world: The satellite represents the first step in the country’s young but ambitious space program, which first set its sights on EO technology in 2020 under a directive from President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The country plans to deploy two more satellites in the coming years to create a constellation of increasingly larger satellites built on 6U and 12U models, according to Space in Africa, a research consultancy. As part of the partnership, EnduroSat will host members of the BIUST team in Bulgaria to complete the satellite assembly and payload integration. The company has also helped establish a master’s program in space engineering and technology in Bulgaria, which will host exchange students from around the world.

“The fact that [BIUST] has a long-term strategic growth vision, and that they are following it strictly, will enable them to build a formidable space program,” EnduroSat CEO Raycho Raychev said in a statement.

Africa rising: This launch will make Botswana the 16th African nation with a satellite in orbit, joining other members of the rapidly-growing African Space Agency, which the African Union established in 2017.

While the African space economy is nascent, the number of nations on the continent with a space program has ballooned in the past decade, and international interest has quickly followed. By the middle of 2023, over $4.7B had been invested on 58 different satellite projects in Africa, according to Space in Africa.  

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