The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has confirmed the launch of the country’s first satellite (BOT SAT-1) in collaboration with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
In a recent State of the Nation (SONA) address, the President said the major component of the satellite – the ground communication station, is ready for commissioning.
He said, “This ground station will immediately communicate with other orbiting satellites before the launch of our satellite in 2023.”
“Some of the key benefits from this project are water resource management, industrial development, environmental management, land management, food security and sustainable agriculture, among others,” he added.
Earlier this year, the government stated that BOT SAT-1 will give Botswana access to the global satellite ecosystem and enable research and development across various disciplines.
“This is a huge milestone towards a knowledge-based economy,” said Masisi.
In 2015 Botswana joined the Project, alongside Kenya, Namibia and Zambia, to train researchers in radio astronomy ahead of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) initiative.
According to Masisi, developing science and engineering capacity in radio astronomy forms part of a global effort to ensure optimum use of new observatories deployed through the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN) project.
AVN is a collection of radio telescopes throughout Africa and serves as an extension of the existing global Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (VLBI) established to modify existing but redundant satellite telecommunication dishes.