The first attempt by an African to land on the moon was made in 1964 by a Zambian high school teacher Edward Mukuka Nkoloso, who attempted to outdo America and the Soviet Union in the race to land on the moon.
Although he did not succeed, his ambitious idea gave rise to the numerous space programs that Africa boasts today.
Here are the top five African countries that are currently running advanced space programs.
On top of being the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has a highly advanced space program operated by its own space agency, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NSRDA), which was established in 2001.
The West African nation has so far launched five self-made satellites that are used for various tasks, including performing environmental and scientific studies in the larger Niger delta and locating terrorists from the region’s terror group Boko Haram.
Nigeria’s first telecommunications satellite known as NigComSat-13 was launched in May 2007 and was designed to offer phone, television and internet coverage across West Africa, but it was later shut down due to lack of substantial solar power.
Its replacement, NigComSat-1R was launched in December 2011 and utilizes a DFH-4-band to bring telecommunication services to the larger West Africa.
Ghanaian space technology
Ghanaian college students who created the country’s first space satellite. Photo credit: GH Headlines
The Ghanaian space program is the youngest in Africa, only having been established five years ago. Despite its dawdling progress, the program is a representation of the country’s big ambitions.
It is operated by the Ghana Space Science and Technology Center (GSSTC), whose main tasks is to coordinate research across the West African country in key areas such as satellite communications and remote sensing. Ghana plans to launch its first satellite in 2018.
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