Angolans Left Snickering After Post-Launch Glitch in Country’s First Satellite



Angolans Left Snickering After Post-Launch Glitch in Country’s First Satellite

The launch of Angosat-1 was broadcast live by Televisão Pública de Angola. Image: screengrab, Clubk Clubk/YouTube.

On 25 December, Angola’s first satellite went into orbit, and the launch was celebrated with a large screen broadcasting it live at Marginal de Luanda, one of the city’s main avenues, accompanied by fireworks.

Named Anglosat-1, the satellite is Russian-made, the fruit of a Russian-Angolan partnership started in 2009, and is intended to bring high-speed internet and radio and television transmission to various countries in Africa and parts of Europe.

However, hours after its launch from Kazakhstan the satellite lost communications with its Earth platform and remained silent for several hours.

Angolans treated the launch and the glitch with humor, but also took the opportunity to question the narratives of the world’s media and the wisdom of spending money on a satellite when human development remains so poor in the country.

Social media was full of comic reactions when news of the satellite’s temporary malfunction broke:

Os fazedores de memes estão cada vez mais rápidos e de humor apurado. “O satélite levou chip da Movicel por isso perdeu rede”; “Encontrou-se o satélite algures no Kwanza-Sul, destruiu as viaturas do soba e do administrador”😆

Meme makers are getting quicker and sharper in wit. “The satellite used a Movicel chip, that’s why it lost connection” [Movicel is a cellphone operator in Angola]; “The satellite was found somewhere in Kwanza-Sul [province in Angola], it destroyed the vehicles of the soba [community-leader] and the administrator”

Ontem os Angolanos lançaram fogo de artifício para comemorar o lançamento do primeiro satélite angolano.
Hoje a agência espacial russa perdeu contacto com o satélite.

Yesterday the Angolans launched fireworks to commemorate the launch of the first Angolan satellite.
Today the Russian space agency lost contact with the satellite.

“Moscovo perde sinal do satélite angolano” já não há porno pra ninguém 😂😂😂

“Moscow lost the signal of the Angolan satellite” now there is no porn for anybody

Must be without a system…
After all, the satellite is Angolan

Some, though, criticized so much attention being given to the fault in the satellite – which finally re-established contact two days later, according to the Russian maker RSC Energia.

Tanta midia internacional subitamente interessada apenas no fracasso do satélite angolano… hate e vontade de não ver um país africano sobressair é assim tão grande ?

So much international media suddenly interested only in the Angolan satellite’s failure… the hate and will to not see an African country stand out is so great?

Angola has become the seventh African country, alongside Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and Tunisia, to have a communications satellite in orbit.

The Angolan government reports that it has invested 320 million US dollars in the project, which it forecasts that it will recover in two years. According to Minister of State Carvalho da Rocha, the telecommunications operators of Angola spend, together, between 15 and 20 million US dollars each month in renting space on other satellites for the region.

Furthermore, the minister said that 40% of the satellite’s capacity has already been sold, to be used by national telecommunications operators, while the rest should be hired by other operators in Africa and parts of Europe. Angosat-1 should stay in orbit for 15 years.

Imagens exclusivas do Angosat.
Satélite angolano será lançado no próximo mês. Técnicos estão a dar os últimos retoques para a conclusão do angosat.

Exclusive images of Angosat.
The Angolan satellite will be launched next month. Technicians are giving the finishing touches to Angosat’s preparation.

However, some raised concerns, such as activist Pedrowski Teca:

I ask:
1 – What is the Russian flag doing on our satellite?
2 – Why is the Russian flag most prominent and Angola’s in second place?
3 – Why is the writing on the satellite in a foreign language (seemingly Russian)?

For Raúl Danda, the satellite is not his priority as an Angolan citizen:

[…] If it is a reason of pride, because it is not just any country that sends its own satellite into space, this episode reminds me of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations; a lot of show for nothing or almost nothing. Many of the stadiums that cost millions and millions of dollars (a “cost” cost and a stolen cost) remain there with grass growing for the goats to graze. At that time, the government of President Eduardo dos Santos (now “ex”) intended only to show that “we can too”! This time that repeats itself. Launching a satellite is a good thing, even really good. But it is first necessary to achieve other things. Buying a BMW while, at home, the children have no bread, is, more than absurd, irrational. Launching a satellite into space while on the ground there is no medicine, food, quality education, healthcare worthy of that name, basic sanitation … and other really basic things, seems to me a terrible irrationality…

Another Angolan activist questioned why the government had brought religious practitioners to attend the launch ceremony:

Aqueles “Lideres Religiosos” que foram levados à Moskovo- Rússia, no âmbito do lançamento do tal satelite que já anda desaparecido foram mesmo fazer o que ?
Este governo parece que ainda não deixou o habito de gastar dinheiro desnecessáriamente, ou estes custiaram a sua viajem?

Those “religious leaders” who were brought to Moscow-Russia, for the launch of the satellite which has already gone missing, were there to do what? It seems that this government has not stopped its habit of spending money unnecessarily, or did they pay for their own travel?

Rebels Break out Spiritual Leader from Congo Prison



Rebels Break out Spiritual Leader from Congo Prison


Rebels from an outlawed group in the Democratic Republic of Congo staged a prison break in the country’s capital, freeing their spiritual leader and 50 other inmates, the government announced.

“Followers of the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) attacked Makala prison at dawn and broke out around 50 prisoners, including their guru, Ne Muanda Nsemi,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said, indicating that police had given chase.

BDK has called for an insurrection against Kinshasa. Nsemi – a self-styled prophet – was arrested along with his three wives and son in early March following a violent two-week siege of his home in Kinshasa, DR Congo’s capital.

According to a local resident, the attack began just before dawn when there were “prolonged exchanges of fire”. Other witnesses said they had heard gunfire near Makala prison at around 4 a.m. (0300 GMT) and saw prisoners wearing blue shirts with yellow collars in the streets.

One of the prisoners on the run told AFP he had managed to escape during violent clashes between the attackers and the prison guards.

The government has accused BDK followers of a string of violent attacks in western DR Congo since the start of the year.

By around 8:30 am (0730 GMT), a column of thick black smoke could be seen rising over Makala prison, with dozens of police and soldiers blocking off all access to the facility.

The United Nations warned its staff to avoid unessential movement around Kinshasa, saying the situation was calm but unpredictable.

Soldiers stopped young men for questioning near Nsemi’s house in the city’s district of Ngaliema and arresting some of them, a Reuters witness said.

Clashes between his followers and security forces have compounded wider tensions across Congo since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his mandate expired in December, raising fears of renewed civil conflict.

Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe told a local radio station that, aside from Nsemi, the prison’s most prominent prisoners, including political opposition leaders and soldiers convicted in the assassination of former President Laurent Kabila, had not escaped.

The dramatic assault took place as DR Congo marks 20 years since the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled the country — which was then known as Zaire — with an iron fist for more than three decades.

Mobutu was ousted by rebel chief Laurent-Desire Kabila, father of the embattled current President Joseph Kabila.

BDK stands for “Kingdom of the Kongo” in the Kikongo language, and its members want to restore an African monarchy that once included what is today Kongo Central (formerly Bas-Congo) along with parts of Angola, the Republic of Congo and Gabon.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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