Chinese Companies to Build Commercial Spaceport on the Horn of Africa

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh meets with representatives of the Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group. (Credit: Djibouti Government)

The Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group (HKATG) and a Shanghai-based Touchroad International Holdings Group have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Djibouti to build a $1 billion commercial spaceport with seven launch pads and three rocket engine test facilities.

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh met with company officials on Monday to discuss the planned Djiboutian Spaceport, which will be constructed in the northern Obock region near the entrance to the Red Sea. It would be the first orbital spaceport in Africa.

Djibouti’s spaceport would be located in the northern Obock region near the entrance to the Red Sea. (Credit: Google Earth)

HKATG’s core business is building designing and manufacturing satellites. The company has performed satellite engineering for the Golden Bauhinia and Aurora satellite constellations. The group owns five technical and manufacturing centers.

Touchroad International has been “conducting businesses in Africa for over 20 years with exposures in various industries and projects including the development and construction of special economic zones in the Republic of Djibouti, mineral extraction, international trade, and cultural exchange and tourism,” according to a business update from HKATG.

“The Djiboutian Government will provide the necessary land (minimum 10 square kilometres and with a term of not less than 35 years) and all the necessary assistance to build and operate the Djiboutian Spaceport,” the update said.

HKATG and the Djiboutian government will manage the spaceport for a period of 30 years. The government will then take control over the facility.

Construction of the spaceport is expected to begin after the parties sign a formal agreement in March. The project is expected to take five years.

The Djiboutian government said the project will require the development of a port facility, a network of highways, and a power grid.