Rwanda will join the list of African countries that have successfully orbited satellites, including Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria.
Rwandan Minister of ICT and Innovations Paula Ingabire has announced that the country will be conducting a beta launch for the Cinnamon-217 and Cinnamon-937 satellite constellation.
In October 2021, Rwanda Space Agency filed a request to acquire these satellites, but the Minister noted that the number had increased to seven satellites. According to her, the full satellite launch should be by the end of 2023.
Rwanda is in talks with a number of countries to assist in the development of its space capabilities, in the hopes of securing accords that will support the countrys Information and Communication Technology (ICT) objectives.
The countrys space ambitions have attracted interest from countries such as Japan, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, the Minister of ICT and Innovations told The New Times.
The proposed mid to long-term partnerships with these countries, she said, range from the use of geospatial data to the design and manufacturing of satellites. For example, Rwanda and Israel signed an agreement in 2020, effectively laying the grounds for pursuing this cooperation. In 2019, Rwanda and Japan teamed up to build the first cube satellite (RwaSat-1), which was launched from Japans Tanegashima Space Centre and deployed to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) from the International Space Station.
Under the partnership with Japan, Ingabire disclosed that 20 Rwandans are currently undergoing training in designing and producing minisatellites.
Rwanda recently approved the law establishing its space agency as the Chamber of Deputies voted. The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of Rwandas national legislature.