TRL Space leads initiative to launch Africa’s first satellite hub in Rwanda

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 19 April 2024 at 05:40

Efforts to launch Africa’s first satellite and equatorial constellation hub in Rwanda are in top gear with the development of the first 6U Cubesat scheduled to commence in the coming months.

TRL Space Rwanda, a sister company of the Czech-based TRL Space, is the pioneer of the project and will collaborate with the Rwandan Space Agency on its development.

The project, which marks a significant milestone for Rwanda, aims to establish a center for building small satellites for the entire African continent.

This center will facilitate knowledge transfer as the company seeks partnerships with the Rwandan government, universities, and research organizations to bring its expertise, development processes, and production to the East African country.

TRL Space has already committed to investing over $2 million (Rwf 2.6 billion) in this innovative collaboration.

According to the company, the first phase of the satellite mission, which will be exclusively used for Rwandan agriculture, has already begun with more satellites set to follow.

The company aims to create a complete constellation of satellites that will ensure regular and sufficient imaging of the entire continent.

While the first satellite will be built by engineers from Europe and Africa working together, the firm says, future satellites will primarily be developed by TRL Space engineers in Rwanda.

The search for these talents has already begun through the recent CubeSat Makerthon, which enabled TRL Space to recruit a diverse pool of talent from across Africa.

Czech President hails program

The initiative received praise from Czech President Petr Pavel during his visit to the TRL Space office in Kigali on April 6, 2024.

President Pavel was in the country to participate in the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed the lives of a million people and left behind a trail of destruction of property.

Speaking during the President’s visit to the TRL Space Rwanda branch, TRL Space CEO, Petr Kapoun, affirmed that the company aims to use technology to change the economic fortunes of the African continent.

"Our intention is not just to deliver these technologies to Rwanda. We bring added value to the region. Our goal is to introduce new space technologies that increase the economic and living standards of the entire region,” the CEO stated.

TRL Space aims to create a complete constellation of satellites that will ensure regular and sufficient imaging of the entire continent.