Sudan has launched its first-ever satellite with assistance from China in a move that signifies the growing relations between the two countries. The government says that the satellite will be employed for research in economic, military and space technology.
According to Xinhua, the Sudan Remote Sensing Satellite (SRSS-1) was launched from the northern Chinese province of Shanxi on Sunday. Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman, spokesman of the ruling body, said that in a few months the satellite will be monitored from Sudan.
Sudan's sovereign council said in a statement, "The satellite aims to develop research in space technology, acquire data as well as discover natural resources for the country's military needs."
A private Chinese company, the Shenzhen Aerospace Oriental Red Sea Satellite Co, developed the satellite for Sudan.
Sudan has over the decades experienced perennial economic woes and is still trying to find a new footing with the new sovereign council in charge. The country has also been extremely keen and hungry in developing space technologies. For decades, Sudan has been involved in national space programme for decades covering activities such as remote sensing and geo-informatics.
In 2013, Omar al-Bashir, who was still the country's president, created the Institute of Space Research and Aerospace (ISRA) in determined efforts to devise a plan that would elevate Sudan's space technologies ambitions.
The question that remains unclear pertains to the source that will be funding this gigantic project. It remains unknown which country will be funding such a project.
The development comes on the backdrop of a major political transformation in Sudan which saw long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir being removed unceremoniously from power by the army. The pressure to get rid of al-Bashir was fomented by the massive wave of protests that engulfed the country in which there were loud calls for a change of government.
The move to launch a satellite can be viewed from both optimistic and cynical lens. For a country that is still mired in abject poverty for the majority of the citizens, it would sound preposterous to launch satellites which do little to nothing in changing the hard circumstances of the ordinary person.
In more sobering reflections, it would be prudent if such funds could be diverted towards the alleviation of the everyday misery that some people have to forcibly go through.
And even the co-operation with China could prove to be catastrophic.
But then, it is a sign of technological progress on Sudan's part and in another sense, it would be noble for Sudan to be in total control of all the technologies required in such projects.
Header image credit - Xinhua