Rwanda’s satellite ‘RWASAT I’ launched into space

On 2 October 2019 at 12:26

Rwanda’s satellite ‘RWASAT I’ is now in service after launching it into space on 25th September 2019. It was launched from Tanegashima Space Center, Southern Japan.

IGIHE has learned that the launch was successfully completed using the H-2B rocket.
A press conference with RURA, the Ministry of ICT and Innovation and Japan embassy in Rwanda is scheduled next week to provide details about RWASAT-1 launch into space.

‘RWASAT I’ is expected to be used in agriculture monitoring aligning with the country’s vision to prioritize technology.

The project to acquire the satellite was implemented in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and Japan through Tokyo University.

The project was designed to have the first institution in Rwanda helping to reduce expenses spent on obtaining data from foreign satellites.

In December 2018, three Rwandans went to Japan to work on the project and acquire knowledge that would lead into making their own satellite and giving technical services for ‘RWASAT-1’.

‘RWASAT I’ was exhibited for the first time at Kigali Convention Center on the sidelines of the 5th edition of Transform Africa Summit in May 2019.
RWASAT I project was designed two years ago.

The satellite has two major duties of collecting data from the earth. The satellite is made with advanced technology enabling it to record data even from remote areas without phone network.

It is equipped with a small technology device that can test the quantity of water, warmth, humidity among other climate measurements.

Among others, taken measurements can be synchronized and combined into the device before sending them using weak signal.

The satellite has the capacity to monitor different directions using its two cameras that can capture pictures on Rwanda’s earth.

The satellite weighs 3.8 Kgs.

Gaspard Twagirayezu, Science and Technology Knowledge Transfer Analyst at the National Commission of Science and Technology (NCST) who was in Japan during the construction of the satellite previously told the media that the target is to have more satellites made in Rwanda.

“Many parts of a satellite can be made in Rwanda but there are some parts involved in testing it that require firms and laboratories not available here in Rwanda. Otherwise, other parts can be made in Rwanda,” he said.

“This is what we are assessing in coming days so that large parts of coming satellites can be made in Rwanda and conduct other tests abroad,” added Twagirayezu.
Based on experience acquired from Japan and his colleagues, Twagirayezu said that Rwandans will be able to build own satellite starting from scratch.

At the time, Takayoshi Fukuyo, advisor at Japan’s National Space Policy Secretariat said that Tokyo University has a partnership with Tumba College of Science and Technology where Rwandans will be trained on monitoring data provided by satellites.

“The idea doesn’t end with making the satellite only. It is crucial to building the capacity of people who can monitor and use this technology,” he revealed.

A team of 15 Rwandans was involved in making RWASAT-1.

RWASAT I is the second satellite Rwanda launches in the space following the launch of ‘Icyerekezo’ satellite on 28th February 2019 expected to expand internet access in rural areas.

It was launched by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with OneWeb.

Rwanda’s satellite ‘RWASAT I’ is now in service after launching it into space on 25th September 2019.