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Tunisia launches its first 100% Tunisian satellite designed by Telnet Holding

The Tunisian satellite Challenge One is put into orbit (photo: Telnet Holding)
The Tunisian satellite Challenge One is put into orbit (photo: Telnet Holding)
TUNISIA. The Tunisian company of telecommunication Telnet Holding and the Russian space agency Roscosmos have succeeded, Monday, March 22, 2021 at 7:07 am, the launch of Challenger One, the first satellite of the country entirely manufactured locally. Carried by a Russian Soyuz-2 launcher from the base of Baikonur (Kazakhstan) - with thirty-seven other foreign satellites -, it will have required three years of research to young local engineers, supervised by some Tunisian experts working abroad, for an investment of about 1 M€, funded by Tunisia.

Initially scheduled to take off on Saturday, March 20, 2021, date of the 65th anniversary of Tunisian independence, Challenger One had to wait a few hours for better weather conditions.

Tunisia is the sixth African state to build its own satellite and the first of the Maghreb. Algeria has already launched six observation devices developed by foreign groups and is preparing its 100% Algerian satellite project "ALSA3". Morocco has launched two Earth observation satellites with the Franco-Italian consortium Thales Alenia Space and the European group Airbus.


A future constellation of 20 satellites

Challenger One is designed to transmit data from connected objects (Internet of connected objects -idO or IoT). It is equipped with thermometers or pollution sensors, location chips and humidity sensors. The data from these devices will be accessible in real time, even in an area without internet coverage. Its mission will last from five to seven years.

Challenger One will have a transmission capacity of 250 kb/s. It marks the beginning of a future constellation of more than twenty unit satellites that Telnet plans to launch within three years in partnership with other African and Arab countries.

Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed revealed that he "submitted a proposal to the Baikonur Cosmodrome to send a Tunisian woman to the space station ISS (...) She will be the first Arab woman to visit the station."

Eric Apim

Monday, March 22nd 2021

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