Angola has confirmed the loss of the nation's first national telecoms satellite, Angosat-1, which was launched in December and was projected to have a 15 year working life.
The Russian-made Angosat-1 struggled with repeated setbacks immediately after its launch from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. Contact with the satellite was soon lost and never recovered despite many attempts.
Building start immediately at no cost to Angola — the new satellite will have more capacity and be more sophisticated than Angosat-1. Angolan Telecommunications Minister Jose Carvalho da Rocha announced that the satellite would be replaced by the Angosat-2 under a new agreement with Russia.
Igor Frolov, a representative of manufacturer Energia RSC said at a press conference in Luanda that the satellite remained in orbit from December 26 to 30. After that, there was a problem, adding that the new satellite would be completed within 18 months.
The Angosat project was founded by Russia and Angola in 2009 and includes a control center in a suburb of the Angolan capital, Luanda. Angosat-1 had been intended to improve satellite communication, internet access and the broadcasting of radio and television across Africa. Angola draws large revenue from its oil reserves but suffers extreme inequality — UNICEF has calculated that 38 percent of the nation's population live in poverty.