Angosat-2 satellite: The memories of Angola’s civil war are painful. Between 1975 and 2002, Angola was locked in one of the world’s bloodiest wars. It lasted for 27 long years and left nearly 1 million people dead and displaced 4 million. It left the country in ruins. As the country today still fights its battles on many fronts, at the same time, it has also been able to achieve a few milestones along the way. In this transition, the country is marching on to space.
Angola’s first satellite control center
Angolan President João Lourenço recently inaugurated the country’s first satellite control center. The main task of the satellite control center is to monitor the activity of the satellite “ANGOSAT 2” which was launched in October, last year with the help of Russia. The launch of the Angosat-2 satellite and its commissioning will improve Angola’s telecommunications.
As per the report, the Satellite Mission and Control Center is an intelligent infrastructure with multiple engineering advantages, capable of guaranteeing the tracking, monitoring, and operation of satellites, in this case, the ANGOSAT-2 satellite.
Angola’s space journey with Russian thrust
Angola launched its first telecom satellite, the Angosat-1, in 2017, which was built following an agreement between Angola and Russia in 2009. It cost Luanda $360 million. However, it failed and the satellite disappeared into space. The construction of Angosat-2 satellite, began at no additional cost to Angola, as the contract signed with Russia covered the construction of a new one in case of the disappearance or destruction of Angosat-1.
In October 2022 , Angolan AngoSat-2 telecommunications satellite was successfully launched atop a Russian Proton-M carrier rocket from the Baikonur spaceport. On October 13, the satellite was delivered into its designated orbit and placed under control.
The satellite is expected to reduce the digital divide and improve telecommunications signal in the most remote areas of the country and Africa. It will provide communications services for the Angolan government for at least 15 years as it is expected to be in orbit for 15-18 years. Further, the satellite also has the capacity to cover the African continent and part of Southern Europe.
In addition, Angola joined the league of African countries that have intensified their efforts to develop their respective space programs.
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However, from a geopolitical perspective, Russia’s helping hand to Angola is also significant. The ruling MPLA has maintained tight connections with Russia throughout its rule. Angola had also abstained from the U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But, contradictorily, a few months back, it sought to broaden its foreign policy and showed signs of tilting towards the West.
Read More: Angola switched its ties from Russia to US, and now its sovereignty is in danger
Thus, Russia’s move to help the country build its space program could be a way to maintain its stronghold over the country which is resource heaven and also strategically relevant in the Gulf of Guinea along with it keeping the western powers at bay. Nevertheless, Angola’s space program today is a result of its perseverance, and the country has added another feather to its cap as Africa marches ahead with its space ambitions.
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