The Russian news agency “TASS” announced on Wednesday May 6th that Russia’s SPUTNIX company, specialized in small satellite production, is planning to launch five satellites in 2020. Among them, will be launched “Challenge One” the first Tunisian satellite, manufactured by the Tunisian company TELNET, which is specialized in technology, development, and software.

“This information comes after the completion of the last successful tests by Tunisian engineers currently in the Russian capital Moscow. To this end, it has been officially decided that the date of November 15, 2020, will be the final date for the launch of “Challenge One” in orbit around the earth”, explained Mr. Mohamed Frikha, Director of TELNET Holding, in a recent post in his facebook page

“The ‘Challenge One’ is an ‘Internet Of Things’ satellite, manufactured with 100 percent Tunisian expertise and will include new technology developed in Tunisia. In this context, I want to pay tribute to the team of Tunisian engineers who turned to Russia in these difficult circumstances and separated their families in order to carry out the mission for the success of the Tunisian project in its specific dates and to emphasize the discipline and seriousness of the Tunisian institutions, I wish them success in the rest of their work and return to a safe and near-term Tunisia” said Mr. Frikha.

The first mission of the Tunisian Satellite will be to provide isolated areas with Internet explained Mr. Anis Youssef, Director of technology and Innovation at Telnet Holding. With the indication that “Challenge One” will be the first satellite in the world to use the “LoRa” protocol. It is a satellite made entirely in Tunisia with 100 percent Tunisian capabilities.

Space Watch Europe reported that  Mr. Mohamed Frikha, saying, on June 25, 2019, during a meeting which took place in Russia at Skolkovo Technopark “The joint efforts of TELNET Holding, SPUTNIX and GK Launch Services will not only create new space technologies and telecommunication solutions that are in demand on the world market but also lay the foundation for the development of space industry in Tunisia.”  The event was the signing of the trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Tunisian company TELNET Holding and Russian companies SPUTNIX and GK Launch Services.

Telnet, SPUTNIX and GK Launch Services sign MoU

SpaceWatch Europe reported that the three parties intend to cooperate in the building of smallsat components and entire satellites, the orbiting, and deployment of about 30 smallsats as part of the Internet-of-Things mission before 2023. They are also planning to arrange courses for representatives of educational institutions and industrial companies and to conduct classes for students, researchers, and engineers at the Private Space Academy in Tunisia. This program will be the basis for a large-scale space education initiative in Tunisia.


For reference:

TELNET Holding is a group of companies founded in 1994, certified ISO9001 and TL9000, and headquartered in Tunisia. It is engaged in software, mechanical and electronic product engineering. The group offers nearshore and offshore consulting, R&D services and expertise in telecom, multimedia, energy, payment solutions and aerospace.

GK Launch Services, a subsidiary of Glavkosmos, is an operator of commercial launches. The company was established by the decision of Roscosmos and is authorized to conclude commercial contracts for the launch of spacecraft using Soyuz-2 family launch vehicles from the Russian launch sites

SPUTNIX Ltd. is a Russian private company manufacturing high-tech small satellite components and platforms, as well as ground equipment for smallsat testing, ground-based satellite stations, and equipment for aerospace education. The company is a resident of the Skolkovo Innovation Center.

The Skolkovo Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in September 2010 with the objective of accelerating Russia’s transformation from a resource-intensive to an innovation-based economy. To achieve this objective, the Foundation is overseeing the creation of the Skolkovo Innovation Center, composed of more than 1,900 high-tech startups, Skolkovo Technopark, the Skolkovo Institute of Technology (Skoltech) – a new graduate research University established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – and Skolkovo city, located near Moscow.