After launching a satellite in 2007 and literally losing it, Egypt is planning to go to space again, as the framework for EgyptSat2 is announced.
“We have lost most of the engineers we have trained in the EgyptSat 1 programme, a lot went to refrigerator factories.”
That’s a direct quote from Ayman Hamdy Kassem, professor of aerospace engineering at Cairo University and a member of the research and training team for the EgyptSat 1 satellite project. On April 17th 2007, Egypt launched their first Earth remote-sensing satellite into space which was jointly built by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau in Ukraine. Three years later, we lost EgyptSat1... literally lost it. The team couldn’t make contact with the satellite and it seems Egyptian’s love for food trumped our need for innovation and we lost our best scientists to fridges. Only in Egypt right? Hell, the first Egyptian going into space will be for a body spray company.
Fast forward seven years and Egypt is once again entering the race for space with EgyptSat2, launching with the aim to enhance scientific research and establish a new space authority and a national space agency, as well as working with other African states to pave the way for a new pan-African space agency. According to Mohamed Medhat Mokhtar, chair of the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, EgyptSat 2 will be manufactured, assembled and tested in Egypt, which is good news because the loss of EgyptSat1 was partly due to the fact that it was developed and designed abroad so Egyptian scientists and engineers were not fully trained in its design or monitoring.
The Egyptian Space Authority will be responsible for space technology activities, including the research, design, manufacture, assembly and testing of satellites, whilst Egypt’s interim president is said to be reviewing a proposal to set up a national space agency. “The state space agency of Egypt will be an independent entity and will directly answer to the presidency of Egypt,” Mokhtar says.
We’d be very willing to give up refrigerating our ma7shy for a while if it means that, years from now, the result of Egypt entering the space race means we’ll have a stake on the moon or whichever other planet humans manage to inhabit first. It’d be a Godsend to our overpopulated state, not to mention we’re running out of jail space to send political prisoners.
One small step for man, one giant leap for Om el Donya.