Egypt to launch remote sensing satellite NExSat-1 from China by year-end: Space agency

Amr Kandil , Friday 7 Jul 2023

Egypt will launch its remote sensing microsatellite NExSat-1 from China by the end of this year, the Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) has said.

Mahmoud Amr, a member of the team that assembled the remote sensing microsatellite NExSat-1 in Egypt, takes a photo with the satellite. Linkedin


In remarks to the official state news agency MENA posted on Friday, EgSA CEO Sherif Sedky said the satellite, which has a six-month lifespan, will be used for urban planning.

The microsatellite will be launched by November or December, Sedky said, adding that it arrived in China in May after completing mechanical and function tests in Germany.

The planned launch will follow the launch of the remote sensing satellite MisrSat-2 in October also from China, added Sedky.

Both satellites were originally scheduled to be launched last year.

NExSat-1 was assembled and tested at the EgSA’s Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test Centre (AITC), said Haitham Medhat, head of the space communications and navigation department at the agency.

The centre is the first step to localizing satellite manufacturing in Egypt and eventually all of Africa, Medhat affirmed.

Built in cooperation with China, the centre was completed earlier this year.

The NexSat-1 is about 45 percent locally engineered, according to an earlier paper published by the EgSA.

The 65kg earth observation satellite NExSat-1 was built by the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) in collaboration with Berlin Space Technologies (BST), which won the tender to assist the NARSS in 2015.

The Egyptian satellite NExSat-1 shipped to Berlin. Linkedin/BST

MisrSat-2 was built by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), using a $92 million grant provided by China to fund it and another project.

The satellite will take images of Egyptian soil to help preserve the environment and conduct research.

Its planned launch comes on the heels of the launch in March of the Horus 2, Egypt’s second remote sensing satellite from China. The Horus 2 will monitor agricultural crops to improve the use of Egypt's natural resources and boost exports.

Egyptian satellites - A brief history

In 1998, Egypt became the first Arab country to launch a telecommunications satellite into space with the NileSat 101. It was followed by Nilesat 102 in 2000, which distributed hundreds of satellite TV channels.

In 2007, Egypt launched EgyptSat 1, which became the first Egyptian remote-sensing satellite. It was manufactured in cooperation between Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) and Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye State Design Office.

Egypt’s second remote-sensing satellite EgyptSat2 was launched in April 2014, but was lost in space in February 2015. Four years later, Egypt replaced it with EgyptSat A after launching it from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome, a spaceport in Kazakhstan leased to Russia.

In 2018, the EgSA was established.

In 2019, Egypt successfully launched the telecommunications satellite Tiba 1 into space after postponing the launch twice due to technical difficulties.

In June 2022, the Egyptian multi-purpose communications satellite Nilesat 301 was successfully launched on board of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to provide expanded broadband internet services covering Egypt.

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