7 African Countries With Functional Satellites in Space

In space language, a satellite is an artificial object which has been intentionally placed into orbit. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth’s Moon

7 African Countries With Functional Satellites in Space

In 1999 South Africa became the first Africa country to launch an artificial satellite, SUNSAT into space. Since then, many other African countries have followed suit. According to a 2018 estimate by listwand, an estimate of about 22 African satellites remain in orbit, of those less than 10 are operational; while the rest have lived out their useful lives and become space debris.

Below are the countries in African with functional satellites orbiting the earth.

1. Nigeria

Nigeria first launched a satellite named
Nigeriasat-1 into orbit in 2003. The gadget was built with an estimated cost of $13 million. Its expected life was 5 years but it lasted 8 years.

In 2011, the country launched NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X satellites into orbit aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket. While NigeriaSat-2 was built in collaboration with foreign engineers, Nigsat – X was solely built and designed by Nigerian Engineers.

Nigeria uses these satellites to monitor the oil-rich Niger Delta. Its satellites have also been used in election monitoring, providing crucial information about voters who may otherwise have been overlooked by poll workers. Satellites have also proved useful in the fight against extremist groups such as Boko Haram. In 2014, Nigeria used its SatX and Sat 2 to monitor the group’s movements and to help find the 273 girls they had abducted.

2. Ghana

GhanaSat-1 is the first Ghanaian satellite in space, built with support from the Japanese Birds program. It was released into space from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer on the International Space Station on 7 July 2017 and will be used to monitor environmental activities along Ghana’s coastline.

7 African Countries With Functional Satellites in Space

3. Angola

Angola is the newest country in Africa to launch a satellite into the orbit. The name of the gadget is AngoSat-1 and was built with an estimated cost of $300 million.
The satellite was launched into space on December 26, 2017.

AngoSat-1 is aimed at improving telecommunication services, telemedicine and other developmental projects and it has an expected working life of 15 years.

It was built by the Russian company RSC Energia. It is the first communications satellite of Angola.

4. South Africa

South Africa is the first African country to launch a satellite into space and has the highest number of satellites in the orbit.
South African first satellite – SUNSAT, was launched in 1999. In 2017 it launched two more satellite known as nSight1 and Za-Aerosat and like the SUNSAT, It was locally built and designed in South Africa. The gadget will be used for telecommunications as well as research and data-gathering for atmospheric study.

5. Morocco

Morroco currently has two satellite or orbiting space. Mohammed VI-A and Mohammed VI-B, both of them were ordered from France in 2012 by the Moroccan government

Named after Morocco’s reigning monarch, King Mohammed VI., the satellites serve Morocco’s civil government agencies and military. and are currently used for mapping and land surveying activities, regional development, agricultural monitoring, the prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification, as well as border and coastal surveillance.

6. Algeria

North African giant Algeria launched its first satellite in space called A ALSAT-1 in 2002 and since then they’ve gone ahead to launch four more, the latest of which is their first communication satellite ‘Alcomsat-1’ .

Alcomsat-1 was developed, built and launched by China in December 2017. It began operation early 2018.

7. Kenya

Kenyan’s First Nano Satellite (1KUNS-PF), is currently orbiting the earth

Kenya’s first satellite, which was built by the University of Nairobi, was deployed to space sometime around May 2018.

Known as the First Kenyan University Nano Satellite—Precursor Flight (1KUNS-PF), the satellite is a product of University of Nairobi, in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo Programme” and United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

The satellite will be used for weather forecasting, earth mapping, disaster management, environmental and animal observation and will also be used in assisting the multimedia sector in the country,

African Countries That Are likely to launch their own Satellites within the next Three years

This African countries are likely to launch their own Satellites within the next three years,

1. Ethiopia

The Horn of Africa nation is also set to launch its first earth observatory satellite in Sept. 2019, with China footing much of the bill.

2. Rwanda

Just like Ethiopia, Rwanda is currently readying itself for satellite technology. The country plans to use it as one of the key tools to monitor implementation of the SDGs goals. Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and Japan-based companies have already signed an agreement to build a satellite and train people in satellite building.

Uzonna Anele
Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.


  1. I write to correct some errors in this article.

    No African country has ever launched anything into orbit around Earth. The only space launches from African soil were carried out by Italy (on land leased from the government of Kenya) and by Spain (on land leased from Algeria), all of which occurred between 1960 and 1985. None of those launches were African space projects. All of those launches were European space projects, which happened to involve a land-lease from an African government.

    The African press has an ugly habit of awarding African countries more credit for space achievements than they are actually due. They use dishonest wording in their article titles that might persuade their readers to assume that these satellites were launched on rockets built by Africans, when nothing of the kind is true. That’s why they omit all mention of the country from which their satellites were really launched.

    Several African countries have legal ownership of one or more orbiting satellites. But they didn’t launch any of them. Instead, all of these African countries hired someone in a white country or in an Asian country to do the launching for them.

    GhanaSat-1 was launched from the United States aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that carried out the CRS-11 mission to the International Space Station. It was not launched from anywhere in Africa.

    South Africa’s SUNSAT was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, United States, aboard a ULA Delta 2 rocket, on 23 February 1999. It was not launched from anywhere in Africa.

    South Africa’s ZACUBE-1 satellite was launched on a Russian Dnipr rocket, and the ZACUBE-2 was launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket. None of South Africa’s satellites were launched from anywhere in Africa.

    Kenya’s 1KUNS-PF satellite was launched from the United States aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It was not launched from anywhere in Africa.

    Nigeriasat-1 was launched from Russia aboard a Dnipr rocket on 27 September 2003. NigeriaSat-2 was launched into orbit from a military base in China. NigComSat-1 was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China — as was NigComSat-1R in 2009. None of Nigeria’s satellites was launched from anywhere in Africa.

    No African country has ever launched anything into space. That has never happened. Any news source or pundit who says otherwise is lying.

    If I hire someone to build a house for me, I do not go around telling people that I am the house-builder.

    If I hire someone to paint a painting for me, I do not go around telling people that I was the painter.

    If I hire someone to write a song for me, I do not go around telling people that I am the composer.

    If I hire someone to write a story book for me, I do not go around telling people that I am its author.

    Saying such things is dishonest. To say such things is to tell lies.

    Just because I own the house, the painting, or the copyright for the song or for the book does not mean that I am due the credit for creating them.

    Likewise, if you were to say that Nigeria launched a satellite, you would be telling a lie. All of Africa’s satellites were launched from Russia, from China, or from the United States.

    These lies are an attempt by African leaders to assert that Africans have more technological prowess than they really do. It is an attempt by Africans to claim more intelligence than they really have. It is an attempt by Africans to say that they’re just as good as everyone else, whereas, in this respect, they are not.

    I will repeat:

    No African country has ever launched anything at all into space.

    It has never happened.


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