AFRICANGLOBE – Africa’s space race is hotting up with more countries on the continent setting up their own space programs.
The continent’s largest economies including South Africa, Nigeria, Morroco, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt have all established space and satellite programs that aim to tap into growing importance of “big data” to inform governments decisions on security, agriculture, telecommunication and other key mapping use.
According to a CNN report, other countries including Kenya, Ghana, Angola and Uganda have voiced their intention to also set up their own space technology observatory.
While the US and other developed nations slowdown on their space programs and retiring their space shuttles only leaving them to private investors like South African-born American billionaire Elon Musk, African countries are just taking off.
Although not African country has yet launched people into orbit many have made strides into satellite technology over the past decade.
By virtues of being the most industrialized and economically strong nation, South Africa’s program is leading the rest with its astronomical ambitions that promise to take the continent where it has never gone — the deepest reaches of space.
South Africa’s plan to build 3,000 satellites in Karoo desert over a square kilometer areas is the biggest in the world, according to Square Kilometer Array organization. The country also has several satellites launched into space.
Nigeria’s space agency, the National Space Research and Development Agency, flies several multimillion-dollar satellites.
In East Africa, Ethiopia plans to build a $3 million privately funded astronomical observatory, taking the first step towards creating a fully fledged national space agency in the region.