In a bid to 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.

The project will be spearheaded by Q-KON Namibia and will mark a significant milestone for the nation into the world of satellite communications.

Namibia’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Honourable Emma Theofelus, says: “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 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.”

Frederico van Wyk, chief investment officer of Eos Capital, says that the greenlighting of the Namibia Space Port project underscores its 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,” Van Wyk says.

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.

The project will also serve as an important hub for satellite communication networks offering ground infrastructure and cutting-edge services to global satellite operators. Initially it will provide select services including:

* Ground Gateway Terminal Hosting: It will offer essential infrastructure for hosting LEO constellation Ground Gateway Terminals such as providing the land for the antennae 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.