CongoSat1: Chinese company will launch DR Congo's first satellite

Congo River seen from space. Congo-Kinshasa is visible to the east of the river.
Credits: ESA

China Great Wall Industry Corp will launch the Democratic Republic of the Congo's first satellite, which will also be developed by China, before the end of 2015, according to a contract signed on 17 November 2012. The Chinese company is the country's only authorized provider of commercial satellite launch services for international clients. The contract for CongoSat 1, a communications satellite to be developed and manufactured by the China Academy of Space Technology for the National Network of Satellite Telecommunications of the African country, was inked in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

The CongoSat 1 design will be based on the DFH 4 satellite platform, capable of covering the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all the central and southern parts of the African continent. China will also build ground control and training facilities and will train satellite-control personnel for the client.

This deal marks the second time that China has exported a satellite to African nations, following the NigComSat 1, another communications satellite that was launched for Nigeria in May 2007 by Great Wall. The Company completed three international contracts in 2012, including the launch of VesselSat 2 for European space systems contractor LuxSpace and VRSS 1, a remote-sensing satellite for Venezuela.