Tunisia to launch its first satellite on Nation’s Independence Day


Tunisia will be launching its first satellite, Challenge ONE, on 20 March, the Nation’s Independence Day. The satellite is owned by TELNET, and it will launch by Glavkosmos (GK) Launch Services aboard Soyuz 2 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Tunisia will also be carrying out SIMBA (System for Improving Monitoring of the Behaviour of Wild Animals) on the same date as Challenge ONE launch. SIMBA is a satellite made to track wild animals around the parks of Kenya. The launch of Soyuz 2 will take place on March 20, 2021, at 9:07 AM, Moscow time.

The launch of the Challenge ONE satellite was announced in 2019 after the Russian operator of commercial launches of Soyuz-2 rockets, Tunisian aerospace, and TELNET came to terms. In the agreement, the satellite will serve as a predecessor for the constellation of 30 satellites aimed to launch by 2030. SPUTNIX, a Russian private company, was also included in the agreement to enhance the development of R&D services to the satellite. SPUTNIX Company makes microsatellites with advanced technologies.

Challenge ONE is a project and innovation that will provide a different approach to information and technology. The outcomes of the Challenge will be used to make a constellation consisting of 30 satellites.

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF), working together with GK Launch Services, announced a competition-free 1U CubeSat launch in 2019. The competition was to take place during the Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries in Morocco. Many took part in the challenge, but the Sapienza University of Rome carried the day after emerging the challenge’s winner. The university created the SIMBA (System for Improving Monitoring of the Behaviour of Wild Animals) satellite, an idea that landed them into winning the competitions. During the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington DC, Mila Savelyeva, GK Director of Marketing Communications, will send the SIMBA satellite into orbit free.

The winning team entails students from the Sapienza University of Rome, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Tel Aviv (Israel). Special sensors will be placed on animals of different species and sizes (varying from birds to animals). CubeSat will be able to provide data about the animals’ migration. Challenge ONE will serve as the first satellite in Africa to launch this year, totalling 43 other launched satellites. Last year, Africa was able to launch one satellite and eight satellites in 2019.

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