According to a number of press reports, Senegal is now preparing for the launch of its first satellite, initially scheduled for 2021 and postponed to 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ecofin news agency says that late last week the country’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation (MESRI) announced that the satellite would be delivered on 10 November. The launch date will then be announced by the government.
The construction of this satellite, which will be called GAINDESAT, results from a partnership agreement signed with the Centre Spatial Universitaire de Montpellier (CSUM).
CSUM is a leading European centre dedicated to bringing together resources and skills in the engineering, production, operation, testing and application of nanosatellites. It offered its assistance to the Senegalese engineers and technicians who built GAINDESAT.
This initiative is part of the implementation of Senegal's national space programme called SENSAT, which aims to aid the country’s socio-economic development through the design and operation of space tools.
SENSAT and CSUM will partner with the digital platform RIDE!space to integrate the satellite into Vigoride, an orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) supplied by Momentus, a company that offers space infrastructure and transportation services.
Last May the Senegalese government announced that it was finalising the construction of a space control centre in partnership with France's Centre national d'études spatiales and aerospace company ArianeGroup. The centre will be used to prepare the satellite for launch.
With the help of GAINDESAT Senegal aims to enhance its ability to address critical challenges such as disaster management and agricultural productivity by harnessing the potential of satellite technology and artificial intelligence.