Africa eyes joint space agency

Sep 04, 2012 by Ian Timberlake
An Ariane 5 rocket blasts off in 2007 with a RASCOM-QAF1 telecommunications satellite for Africa. African nations would work together in peaceful space research under a proposal for a space agency being considered Wednesday at a meeting in Sudan of the continent's communications and IT ministers.

African nations would work together in peaceful research under a proposal for a space agency being considered Wednesday at a meeting in Sudan of the continent's communications and IT ministers.

The agency, to be called AfriSpace, would enable "cooperation among African states in space research and technology and their space applications," says a working document issued for the conference.

When they last met in Nigeria two years ago, the ministers asked the African Union Commission to conduct a feasibility study for AfriSpace.

The study, which aims to provide a "roadmap for the creation of the African Space Agency", would be considered at the two-day ministerial meeting starting Wednesday in the Sudanese capital, the working document said.

It noted only "a tiny minority" of countries control space technologies which play a major role in everything from broadcasting to weather forecasting, agriculture, health, and environmental monitoring.

"A common continental approach will allow the sharing of risks and costs and ensure the availability of skilled and sufficient human resources," the document said.

"It will also ensure a critical size of geographical area and population required in terms of the plan of action for some space applications."

Among its roles, AfriSpace would implement a long-term African space policy, recommend "space objectives" to member states, and coordinate orbital slots and other space resources, the document said.

Twenty years ago African nations decided to create the Regional African Satellite Communication Organisation (RASCOM), an intergovernmental commercial agency which in 2007 launched a pan-African telecommunications satellite.

A replacement satellite was launched from French Guyana in August 2010 to support health and education projects, broadband connectivity as well as voice, Internet, radio and TV broadcasting, RASCOM said on its website.

As broadband growth expands in Africa, information and communications technology demand is soaring, another conference document said.

"Demand, around 300 gigabits per second in 2009, will reach 6,000 gigabits per second by 2018," it said.

The African Union has applied internationally to use .Africa as an Internet address which it says would be "a distinctive pan-African identification."

It says a decision is expected next year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which coordinates online domain names.

A working paper for the Khartoum conference asks ministers to "urgently" provide written support for the .Africa project. It says 70 percent of the continent's 54 nations have already given that backing.

Explore further: NASA picks Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists hail Africa's steps into space

Oct 03, 2011

More African countries are launching satellites and taking advantage of space technology, the world's top scientists heard Monday at a meeting marking the 50th anniversary of human space flight.

Nigeria launches 2 new satellites into orbit

Aug 17, 2011

(AP) -- Nigeria launched two observation satellites into orbit Wednesday, and authorities said they hoped to use the equipment to monitor weather in a region seasonally ravaged by disasters.

Russia and Israel sign space agreement

Mar 27, 2011

Russia and Israel on Sunday signed an agreement on cooperation on space technology and space exploration, the Russian space agency said in a statement.

Roscosmos Head Extols His Agency

Apr 17, 2006

Russia's unique rocket and space industry makes it possible to create a wide range of equipment serving national defense, security, socio-economic development, science and international cooperation goals, Anatoly Perminov, ...

Recommended for you

Video: MAVEN set to slide into orbit around Mars

49 minutes ago

A NASA mission to Mars led by the University of Colorado Boulder is set to slide into orbit around the red planet this week after a 10-month, 442-million mile chase through the inner solar system. 

Dawn operating normally after safe mode triggered

59 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —The Dawn spacecraft has resumed normal ion thrusting after the thrusting unexpectedly stopped and the spacecraft entered safe mode on September 11. That anomaly occurred shortly before a planned ...

Repaired Opportunity rover readies for 'Marathon Valley'

1 hour ago

With a newly cleared memory, it's time for Opportunity to resume the next stage of its long, long Martian drive. The next major goal for the long-lived rover is to go to Marathon Valley, a spot that (in images ...

Image: Rainbow aurora captured from space station

4 hours ago

Auroras occur when particle radiation from the Sun hits Earth's upper atmosphere, making it glow in a greenish blue light. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has one of our planet's best views of this phenomenon, ...

Experts: Mystery fireball was Russian satellite

7 hours ago

People from New Mexico to Montana saw the bright object break apart as it moved slowly northward across the night sky. Witnesses described it as three "rocks" with glowing red and orange streaks.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2012
This is welcome trend and must be encouraged - SPACE FOR PEACE.
Cosmology World Peace-Space Cosmology Vedas interlinks -help promote to keep-up Enlightened Knowledge Base.Vidyardhi Nanduri [Cosmology Studies-Independant Research]