Tunisia is the first country in the Maghreb and the sixth in Africa to manufacture its own satellite for the Internet of Things.
The first home-made satellite was launched into space on Monday March 22, opening up new local prospects for young engineers who are moving abroad in droves. Tunisia is the first country in the Maghreb and the sixth in Africa to manufacture its own satellite, after South Africa, Egypt and Ghana, according to the specialised website Space in Africa.
Challenge One, designed for the Internet of Things (the ecosystem of connected objects), was built by a team from the Tunisian telecommunications group TelNet, whose engineers, trained locally, are mostly between 25 and 30 years old.
The rocket took off on Monday morning from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, followed live from Tunis by President Kaïs Saïed, who joined engineers and journalists at TelNet headquarters. “Our real wealth is the youth who can face the obstacles,” Saied said, stressing that Tunisia, mired in a social and political crisis, did not lack resources but “national will. “We are proud of our youth” and of Tunisian brains “all over the world”, he stressed.
The Challenge One team was supported by expatriate Tunisian engineers, one of whom participated in the recent NASA mission to Mars.
Thermometers or connected pollution sensors, location chips or humidity sensors: this experimental satellite is intended to collect the data collected by these devices and access them in real time, even in an area of the Earth without Internet coverage. It aims to meet the growing need for satellite connections for objects, as less than 20% of the world’s surface is covered by the terrestrial Internet network.