Egypt has taken steps to create an integrated space science program. Those steps include beginning to establish an Egyptian Space Agency, agreeing to host the African Space Agency and introducing space science courses in public universities beginning with the next academic year.
In addition, a faculty of navigation sciences and space technology has been opened at Beni Suef University, a public university south of Cairo, and the government has launched a remote-sensing satellite known as EgyptSat A.
“Space is the future, and its resources are unlimited,” said Ali Sadiq, president of the Egyptian Council for Space Research and the founder of the Egyptian space program. Sadiq said that space discovery is millions of times more important than the discovery of the ancient world’s continents for “It contains resources that represent the magic solution to all the crises we are currently living in, whether it was related to energy, water or living space.”
In February, the Egyptian satellite, EgyptSat A, a remote-sensing satellite, was launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome, a spaceport in Kazakhstan leased to Russia. The new satellite replaces the former satellite EgyptSat-2, launched in April 2014 and lost in February 2015, and is Egypt’s third remote-sensing satellite. The new one-ton satellite has a design similar to the previous one, but with a larger digital memory. The satellite was manufactured by a team of Egyptian researchers.
“The launch of the new satellite has helped train dozens of Egyptian researchers and engineers based on an agreement signed with the Russian researchers, which is very important,” said Hussein al-Shafei, adviser to the Russian Space Agency and head of the Egyptian-Russian Foundation for Culture and Science.
The new satellite will serve scientific research in Egypt in many ways, according to a press release from the minister of higher education and scientific research, Khalid Abdul Ghaffar. “The new satellite will provide high-resolution imagery of the Earth,” he said, “increase the possibilities of urban planning, monitor desertification and attacks on state lands, track crop planting and growth, as well as monitoring the sea, river and waterways.”
“The Egyptian satellite supports the role of Egypt in the Arab and African levels in the field of scientific research and supports development projects in the Arab region and the African continent,” the statement added.
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Egypt became the first Arab country to put a telecommunications satellite into space with the launch of NileSat 101 in 1998. That satellite was followed in 2000 by Nilesat 102, which helped distribute hundreds of satellite TV channels. In 2007, Egypt launched EgyptSat-1, which became the first Egyptian remote-sensing satellite, and was manufactured in cooperation between Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences and Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye State Design Office.