Further to the signing of a contract on April 1, 2019 between Tunisian engineering and technology consultancy Telnet Group and GK Launch Services, the Russian operator of commercial launches of Soyuz-2 rockets, Telnet CEO Mohamed Frikha confirmed last month that the team will be ready to launch Tunisia’s first satellite, Challenge ONE, in 2020.
The satellite will be launched in July 2020 from the Russian-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in south-central Kazakhstan aboard the Russian Soyuz-2.1A, Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) news agency reported.
Challenge ONE is a scientific research and technology demonstrator satellite offering new concepts in information technologies and their practical applications. The small satellite is being developed in-house by Telnet Group.
Frikka is reported to have said that the satellite has cost US $349,825 while its global counterpart would cost around $1.7 million.
“We were able to control costs thanks to the technological resources of the Telnet group, which opened up new horizons for the space technology sector in Tunisia through cooperation with international partners,” he commented.
Challenge ONE in-orbit operation will serve as a precursor mission for a constellation of 30 satellites.
Telnet Group also signed a tripartite deal in June this year with Russia’s SPUTNIX and GK Launch Services for the launch of a 30-satellite constellation by 2023 for the development of a network of IoT applications.