July 17, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

EnduroSat receives order for Botswana's first satellite

TAMPA, Fla. — European cubesat specialist EnduroSat announced plans July 3 to build Botswana’s first satellite in collaboration with a university in the landlocked southern African country.

EnduroSat said engineers from Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) are joining the manufacturer's team in Bulgaria to help manufacture Botsat-1, based on a standard three-unit (3U) cubesat measuring 30 centimeters on each side.

Booked on SpaceX's Transporter-13 rideshare mission, scheduled to launch no earlier than February, Botsat-1 would carry a hyperspectral sensor to collect soil composition data to support the country's mining and agricultural businesses.

An EnduroSat spokesperson said the sensor would have a spatial resolution of 32 meters at 500 kilometers altitude and a swath of 32 kilometers. By collecting multiple bands of light within the visible and near-infrared (VNIR) portion of the spectrum reflected by the Earth's surface, the data can help identify materials and provide information on vegetation, water and air quality.

Botswana is the world's leading producer of diamonds in terms of value. according to the U.S. government's International Trade Association.and the sector accounts for just under a third of the country's gross domestic product.

However, the declining global market for rough diamonds is prompting Botswana to diversify its economy.

EnduroSat said Botsat-1 will provide the data that decision makers in Botswana need for long-term planning and investment. Credit: EnduroSat

Botswana's government is funding Botsat-1, which EnduroSat says is part of a broader goal to build a space hub in the country and would build on its Space Engineering and Technology qualification program that is set to begin in October.

“BIUST has already invested in developing its own equipment, including… ground stations,” the EnduroSat spokesperson said via email, “so synergy in educational programs (is) one of our common priorities within this mission. BOTSAT-1 is the first step towards implementing practice-based space education to attract and train regional talents.”

BIUST engineers will help complete Botsat-1 assembly and payload integration in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. BIUST will also operate the satellite from Botswana using mission operations software developed by EnduroSat.

“This partnership brings us closer to realizing our shared vision and underlines the strength of our mutual commitment to advancing space technology in Botswana,” BIUST Vice-Chancellor Otlogetswe Totolo said in a statement.

EnduroSat launched its first satellite in 2018 and says it has delivered 60 spacecraft to date.

The plan for Botsat-1 comes as increasingly affordable and flexible satellites are allowing a broader spectrum of countries to join a space community once accessible primarily to wealthier nations.

An inaugural satellite from Senegal's space agency is scheduled to launch later this month as part of SpaceX's Transporter-11 rideshare mission.

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