In 1957, the age of exploration, and of human expansion, broached its final frontier. The penetration of space by human-engineered technology was a seminal moment, one which opened the door for a new era of progress. Since then, we have harnessed the power of the universe’s vast expanses for our own betterment – developing technology which has advantaged fields as diverse as meteorology, communications, healthcare, entertainment, sport, and many others. There is little on our planet today that has not been touched, in one way or another, by our ability to send rockets and satellites beyond the confines of our atmosphere. While the whole world has reaped the rewards of these technological advances, the windfalls of the space industry have disproportionately benefitted the world’s wealthiest countries. The global space industry today is valued at over $400bn, but only a fraction of this wealth has reached the developing world. The African space sector, for instance, only represents $7bn of this global industry. This could all be about to change. To tap into the benefits of space services, the Government of Rwanda created the Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) with the mission to develop space technologies and services for socio – economic development. RSA is in charge of regulating and promoting space technologies and services as well as creating a conducive environment for the entrepreneurial and industrial development of space services in Rwanda. While still relatively young in the space industry, we are seeing already the creation of several exciting projects in this sector. Rwanda is the ideal location to drive the growth of this highly-skilled, technologically-driven sector and promising signs of progress are already evident. Some might ask: What advantages does the development of a space agency bring to a country like Rwanda? Investment in the space sector advances technological developments which pay dividends across the country. It helps inform data-driven decision-making in critical sectors and contributes to the improvement of citizens’ lives and livelihoods. The Rwanda Space Agency will, therefore,, act as a force multiplier to the country’s socio-economic development. Some of our existing projects provide perfect evidence of this. Our first ever satellite, RwaSat-1, fed back images to our Ministry of Agriculture, and helped support vital soil moisture analysis in addition to satellite data-based land use surveys and crop yield estimates. The data provided by the satellite was invaluable, and contributed directly to our national development plans. We were also involved with broadband internet from space on our second satellite project, nicknamed Icyerekezo (‘Vision’ in Kinyarwanda). This satellite ensured the provision of internet connectivity to students in Nkombo island on Lake Kivu, ensuring that our youth can access the highest quality of education regardless of geographical constraints. Our future projects are even more ambitious, in line with the Government’s vision. The national Geospatial data Hub project is one of them. When Mt. Nyirangongo volcano erupted in neighboring DRC earlier this year, RSA leveraged Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) analysis and in partnership with our robust partner network, helped inform emergency responders and decision makers to better understand real-time ground transformation in the border towns of Goma and Rubavu. The GeoHub will also use data to guide decision-making in other critical sectors, including agriculture, urban planning, and mining, among others. Each year, African governments spend millions of dollars on the acquisition and utilization of satellite data from commercial space companies. The thought of Africans being able to meet our own demands is a plausible goal for our lifetime. Rwanda, and the RSA, are ready to pave the way for that objective. One vital step Rwanda has taken towards this aim is our first filing of a satellite constellation to the ITU. This is a necessary step for any nation hoping to become operational in space. Advances in technology – including the abilities to develop smaller satellites, and to re-use satellite launchers – means that this field has more potential than ever. Space is no longer reserved for a handful of countries, as it was in much of the 20th Century. This filing reflects that fact, and is a signal of our ambitions for the near future. Over the last 27 years, Rwanda has shown its commitment to creating the best environment possible for the cultivation of innovation and the emergence of a tech sector; with the space sector being a logical spinoff in this generation. Regulatory frameworks and financial incentives have created an environment which is highly favorable for investors and attracts public and private partners from across the world. Alongside this, investments in education and key infrastructure means that the country is able to offer some of the best conditions for doing business in Africa. Furthermore, Rwanda is a continental leader in terms of its reliable, cheap, and fast fiber connectivity, as well as its network signal across the country. Our geographical location near the equator also creates ideal opportunities for international partners to work with the RSA to deploy gateways or satellite ground stations on Rwandan soil. The development of these capabilities in Rwanda, in short, creates a wealth of opportunity for an emerging new space economy. Rwanda is tapping into the recent global investor appetite in the space sector and aims to become the gateway for space commerce on the African continent. The development of partnerships and collaborations between RSA and international partners will not only have benefits for Rwanda, but for our entire region and for partners from around the world. The author is CEO of Rwanda Space Agency.