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The New Arab Staff

Tunisia makes history with first satellite in space

The satellite will aid the 'Internet of Things' [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 March, 2021

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Tunisia has put its first satellite into orbit following a successful launch from a site in Kazakhstan.

Tunisia launched its first satellite into space on Monday from a launch site in Kazakhstan, on board a Russian Soyuz 2 rocket. 

The satellite was manufactured by the Tunisian telecommunication company Talnat and is specialised in the "Internet of Things", according to the company's owner and general manager, Mohamed Fraikha. 

The "Challenge One" satellite was due to be launched on 20 March, Independence Day in Tunisia, but was delayed after a surge in voltage was detected. 

The historic launch of the satellite was broadcast on Tunisian state television and was followed by a programme dedicated to the purpose and function of the satellite. 

Tunisia President Kais Saied watched the launch from the headquarters of Talnat, and further crowds gathered at the City of Science in the capital, Tunis, to see the live footage of the launch. 

"This project is the fruit of Tunisian skills and is a lesson that shows that in the presence of real will, we can reach the sky," said Saied in a speech.

"We are proud of our independence, of our past, of our parents and adults. We are also proud of you young people, the pride of Tunisia, who will create the future on earth and in space," he added.

The satellite will allow for communication and data exchange between different technologies across different areas, including transport, agriculture and logistics. 

"The event is of great importance, as it will open up new perspectives in the training of engineers and students in the fields of space technologies," said Tunisian aerospace engineer Ahmed Fadhel in a statement to TAP news agency. 

Also discussed at the launch of the satellite was Tunisia’s proposal to send a Tunisian woman to the International Space Station. 

Read more: How poverty and corruption are pushing Tunisia's disenfranchised youth back to the streets

The Challenge One was one of 38 satellites from 18 different countries that were launched today. 

Among the satellites put into orbit was Saudi Arabia's "Shaheen Sat" which will be used to track maritime movements and for photography. 

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