Tanzania plans to establish space agency, satellite in 2024/2025 fiscal year

What you need to know:

  • The country has been making strides in space programmes, including securing an orbital position of 16W for use in broadcasting satellites and new frequencies that will be used to improve the safety of air and maritime communications.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is taking a giant leap towards space exploration with plans to establish the country’s first-ever Space Agency in the 2024/2025 fiscal year.

This announcement comes from the minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye who tabled his docket’s budget in Dodoma yesterday.

Mr Nnauye said the government plans to continue implementing space programmes to promote the use of satellite technology to facilitate ease and convenient access to communication and other services.

“The other services include defence and security, research, disaster management and weather forecasting in the country,” he told the national assembly.

The country has been making strides in space programmes, including securing an orbital position of 16W for use in broadcasting satellites and new frequencies that will be used to improve the safety of air and maritime communications.

According to the minister, in the next fiscal year, the government would also establish a national satellite management committee in the country to coordinate, supervise, and develop space activities.

On May 19, 2023, President Samia Suluhu Hassan revealed that Tanzania is planning to build its own satellite and that negotiations to reach the scientific milestone have already begun.

“We are well prepared. We have started discussions, and rest assured that Tanzania will have its own satellite in the near future,” she said. Should the plan materialise, Tanzania will join the list of other East African countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Kenya launched its first operational earth observation satellite in April 2023 onboard a SpaceX rocket from the United States, a live feed from Elon Musk’s rocket company showed. The satellite, developed by nine Kenyan engineers, will collect agricultural and environmental data, including floods, droughts, and wildfires, that authorities plan to use for disaster management and to combat food insecurity.

Uganda, on the other hand, launched its first ever satellite into the international space station on December 8, 2022, following its construction by three Ugandan and Japanese engineers under a multinational satellite design programme.

 Overall, in Africa, Egypt leads the way with nine launched satellites, followed by South Africa with eight, Algeria with seven, Nigeria with six, and Morocco with three.

Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, and Mauritius complete the list.

The development of a satellite has far-reaching implications across multiple sectors.

In communication, a satellite can enhance connectivity in remote areas, bridge the digital divide, and improve access to education and healthcare services.

In other key sectors, such as agriculture, satellite data can provide valuable insights into soil moisture, vegetation health, and crop monitoring, enabling farmers to make informed decisions about irrigation, fertilisation, and pest control.

Furthermore, satellite technology plays a crucial role in disaster management, allowing for early warning systems, efficient emergency response, and post-disaster assessment and recovery.