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Rwanda will launch 3 test LEO satellites

March 23, 2022

Rwanda has, the landlocked republic lying south of the Equator in east-central Africa plans – and has official filings lodged – to launch more than 100,000 small satellites for broadband connectivity. The country’s project, named E-Space, used the Washington Satellite 2022 event to say that it had contracted with Rocket Lab and its Electron rocket to launch a trio of satellites in the next few months from New Zealand.

Rocket Lab will use its launch facility from New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.

The project has Greg Wyler as CEO, a serial entrepreneur and who worked at O3b (now owned by SES) and OneWeb (now backed by Bharti and the UK government).

The Rocket Lab launches are for three satellites to “validate” the Rwandan concept.

“Our first satellites will provide a demonstration and test platform for our new sustainable satellite system,” said Wyler. “E-Space will increase the speed for constellation delivery from years to months, allowing new opportunities for more people to access space-based platforms. With the help of Rocket Lab, we are excited to be bringing these satellites into orbit in record time.”

“We’re excited to partner with E-Space on their first mission,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck. “Innovation is the key to success in space, and E-Space’s commitment to reducing the time it takes to create a constellation or satellites, while maintaining affordability and accessibility falls in line with our own values at Rocket Lab, as we have done with Electron, the leading small launch vehicle. We wish them enormous success in their mission with us.”

E-Space says it aims to reduce the launch requirements for a full constellation to months instead of years — decreasing the time it takes to scale, replenish or deliver a full system. E-Space’s system aims to allow governments and companies to own private satellite constellations that can dynamically scale in capabilities, with applications ranging from secure communications to managing remote infrastructure, while maintaining a high level of security, flexibility and resiliency.

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