African Satellite Industry and the challenges it faces when registering space objects

A space-faring country is one capable of launching and operating a satellite in orbit, and there are 11 space-faring nations in Africa; Angola, Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, Rwanda, and Sudan. These nations have initiated 41 satellites in the last two decades, with 31 of them being launched in the previous ten years. In 2019, five African countries (South Africa, Egypt, Rwanda, Sudan, and Ethiopia) initiated a sum of eight satellites. The primary purposes for the satellites have been in Earth observation, education, communications, and technology. A satellite falls in the category of ‘space object,’ which entails liability and, most significantly, for the current discourse’s functions.

Registration Convention, Article 1 states that following the launch of a space object into the orbit, or past the rotation, the launching state must record the space object by its entry means in a proper registry, which it would sustain. Every launching state must update the United Nations Secretary-General of such registry establishment.

Its only four African nations (Morocco, Libya, South Africa, and Nigeria) have signed the Registration Convention. Even though Registration in Article 1 calls for governments to register their space object before launching, countries are also needed to contain a national registry of every space object. From which information should frequently be presented to UNOOSA as the international repository for every item launched in the space. Amid those that have presented documents of registration to UNOOSA are Algeria, Kenya, and South Africa. In Article 4 terms, the below information is to be given sooner or later:

  1. The launching State or States name;
  2. A favorable space object designator or its number of registrations;
  3. Location or territory launch date;
  4. fundamental orbital parameters, comprising of inclination, Nodal period, Perigee, and Apogee;
  5. The general space object function;

Despite the above provisions, the statistics display that a significant part of African nations are yet to ratify the Registration Convention, comprising those believed to be space-faring, despite global space law punctuality that needs a State to tame space agreements into home legislation. Additionally, most African nations lack a logical national space regulation or strategy. About seven countries (South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Morocco, Algeria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Angola) have a national rule or procedure. There are different gaps in the registration framework of international law, which fulfills the obligations predominantly tenuous and requires urgent redress.