- Satellite Evolution
RSA signs partnership with ATLAS Space Operations Inc for satellite ground infrastructure
The Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) and ATLAS Space Operations Inc., a leading American company in satellite communication ground infrastructure, have announced a strategic partnership to utilise a teleport in Rwanda. The teleport will feature a 9.3-meter antenna in different frequency bands capable of servicing spacecraft on lunar missions.
The agreement was signed on 21 February 2023 between Mike Carey, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of ATLAS, and Col Francis Ngabo, CEO of RSA, to allow ATLAS to extend its network of global ground stations in Sub-Saharan Africa with the capability to support lunar missions.
According to the agreement’s details released by RSA, the Agency is building a teleport capable of hosting multiple ground stations to service satellites in different orbits. In addition, the teleport has state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities capable of providing critical communication for spacecraft Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C).
Col Francis Ngabo explained at the ceremony that the Agency is delighted to partner with ATLAS Space Operation Ltd to advance their teleport operations. “The partnership results from RSA’s strategy to invest in the midstream and downstream segments of the space sector, enabling Rwanda to become the go-to destination for any global space entity wishing to use satellite ground infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, we believe our partnership with ATLAS will bring value to Rwanda’s teleport and space programme in general,” Col Francis added.
Furthermore, Col Francis added that the 9.3-meter antenna could service many satellites at different time slots, and therefore RSA welcomes other satellite operators to consider Rwanda for their need in TT&C infrastructure. “The operationalisation of the teleport and satellite ground station will not only attract investors in the space sector but also provide easy access to satellite data for developing various applications that can contribute to the socio-economic development of Rwanda,” he concluded.
Mike Carey also noted that his organisation would employ its revolutionary approach to space communications – Ground Software as a Service, built around their Freedom Platform, to manage the Rwandan satellite ground station and other critical radio frequencies to facilitate satellite management and space missions.
“We are thrilled to partner with RSA to extend our operation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The combination of our Freedom software and federated global antenna network will provide opportunities for Rwanda to benefit from our large client base that wishes to use ground stations in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, ATLAS intends to use the Rwandan ground station to command current and prospective client space missions, and this is a great example of how strategic partnerships can make space accessible for all,” Mike concluded.
The teleport in Rwanda comes at a time when the space industry is going through rapid development, with projected growth from USD 400 billion of revenue in 2022 to USD 1 Trillion in 2040. Similarly, the industry is also experiencing significant growth and interest in the outer space exploration segment, with missions like the Artemis 1 opening the way for a long journey back to the Moon.
Rwanda was the first country in Africa, together with Nigeria, to sign the Artemis Accords. To this end, with the global growth of the space industry and the increasing interest in outer space exploration, ground stations will play an essential role in maintaining communication between spacecraft or satellites in orbit with earth.
About Rwanda Space Agency: Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) was established with the mission of developing Rwanda's space sector towards social-economic development. The mandate of RSA includes creating an environment that encourages entrepreneurial and industrial development in order to enable the creation of space-based products that are globally competitive for local consumption and export markets. RSA is also in charge of developing and implementing capacity-building programs in space sciences and technologies, as well as their applications, and developing highly skilled professionals in the space industry. This is accomplished through collaboration with various stakeholders.
About ATLAS Space Operations: ATLAS Space Operations is the leading provider of Ground Software as a Service™ solutions in the space communications industry. ATLAS has been recognized by the World Teleport Association as one of the fastest-growing teleport operators in the world for the past three years, and was recognized as the 15th fastest-growing software company in the world in 2020 by Inc. 5000. ATLAS combines the Freedom™ Software Platform and its global antenna network to achieve its mission of connecting humanity through space.