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Egypt Launches NexSat-1 Satellite From China

NexSat-1
NexSat-1 launches from China Credit: EgSA

Ibadan, 5 February 2024. – The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) has launched its NexSat-1 satellite into orbit aboard Jielong-3 (Smart Dragon-3), China’s small orbital launch vehicle and has subsequently established communications with the satellite. The microsatellite weighs 67 kilograms, and it features a panchromatic imaging payload with 5.7 meters of ground resolution

EgSA’s CEO, Dr Sherif Sedky, announced the launch on February 3rd, 2024, from the Yangjiang in Guangdong province, China. The CEO also added that ground control at EgSA’s headquarters established successful initial communication with the spacecraft from the first attempt.

NexSat-1 is Egypt’s first experimental satellite which it developed domestically in collaboration with Berlin Space Technologies (BST) GmbH. The Egyptians’ primary mission contributions included mission-critical onboard software development, functional testing for satellite subsystems, assembly integration and spacecraft structural and environmental tests. EgSA also designed and developed a full ground control facility in Egypt. The Egyptian team comprised more than 60 engineers and domain-level experts in various areas of satellite technology.

The NexSat-1 mission is a part of Egypt’s national satellite program and marks the achievement of a crucial milestone. The NexSat-1 mission also represents an important step towards Egypt’s domestication of microsatellite technology. This also includes the design, software development, functional testing/assembly and integration of a spacecraft. According to the Space Agency, such steps are necessary as a preamble to future domestic microsatellite production to serve Egypt’s sustainability goals and to generate economic value through service to its customers.

Egypt also recently solidified its partnership with China in space exploration through the China-led International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) program. EgSA’s CEO formally signed the partnership agreement with the China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) director, Zhang Kejian, at an event in Beijing on December 6, 2023.

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