Namibia embarks on a galactic journey: the NIDIF greenlights the Namibia Space Port project

In a visionary move that will propel Namibia into the limelight of African space technology, Eos Capital, managers of the Namibia Infrastructure Development and Investment Fund (NIDIF) have given the green light for the Namibia Space Port project. This project will be spearheaded by Q-KON Namibia and will mark a significant milestone for the nation into the world of satellite communications.

Said Namibia’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Honourable Emma Theofelus, “The Namibia Space Port represents a monumental stride towards harnessing the vast potential of space technology for the growth of Namibia and Africa’s communication capabilities.”

The Minister added that this project was an important one for Namibia’s National Space Science and Technology Policy that was launched in June 2021. “The project shows Namibia’s commitment to space exploration, innovation, and sustainable development. With a strategic focus on collaboration, capacity building, and technological advancement, the Namibia Space Port will make our country a worthy player in the African space arena,” she explained.

Reiterating the significance of this investment, Frederico Van Wyk, Chief Investment Officer of Eos Capital, said that the greenlighting of the Namibia Space Port project underscores their commitment to advancing digital inclusion and connectivity to all corners of the country, fostering economic growth and innovation in Namibia. This investment forms part of NIDIF’s larger ICT sector play in Namibia. “This landmark initiative aligns with Eos Capital’s mission to facilitate strategic investments that propel Namibia into the future and earn positive returns to investors,” he added.

With the development of the Namibia Space Port, Q-KON Namibia, a CRAN licensed satellite service provider, is set to become a significant player in the rapidly growing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) industry. The LEO industry currently has 36 projects underway, with a planned launch of 63,418 satellites.

Dr. Dawie de Wet, Group CEO of Q-KON expressed his enthusiasm for the project, “We are honoured to lead this transformative initiative that will not only elevate Namibia’s technological prowess but also play role in the growth of the LEO industry in sub–Saharan Africa.”

  • Ground Gateway Terminal Hosting: It will offer essential infrastructure for hosting LEO constellation Ground Gateway Terminals like providing the land for the antenna farm, civil works, fibre connectivity and power, as well as facilities monitoring, equipment hosting, infrastructure services and on-demand first line support services.
  • Earth Observation Downlink Services: The project will enable orbiting satellites to download vital data and images, advancing earth observation capabilities and scientific research. High-resolution images from satellites will be made available to schools and universities, offering a valuable resource for educational purposes. For instance, students can analyse changes in land use, monitor deforestation, or track the effects of climate change on various ecosystems.
  • Tracking, Telemetry, and Control (TT&C): Essential for effective global satellite operations, the Space Port will become a crucial part of the African network of TT&C stations that monitor and control satellites in orbit over the continent, bolstering communication networks worldwide.

What makes access to satellite internet significant for countries like Namibia is the offer of always-on anywhere connectivity, and LEO technology (like Starlink, OneWeb and Project Kruiper) specifically offers reduced latency and high data transfer rates to provide immediate and far-reaching broadband coverage, without the need for mobile tower build projects. It offers a feasible alternative which has the potential to solve the digital divide in Africa.

“The next steps are anticipated to be announced in the coming months,” says Q-Kon’s de Wet. More details will be confirmed as soon as they are available.

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