Feasibility of an East African Spaceport: Uhuru (Freedom)



John Butler

Ian Christensen

Allen Herbert

Robert Howard

Obadiah Kegege

▪ Kwesi Robotham

Edward Tunstel


This paper highlights the need for performing a feasibility study on the development of an East

African Spaceport (EAS). Due to their nearly equatorial locations, several islands in the East

African region offer the best sites for spacecraft launches to Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO),

Low Earth Orbit (LEO), or interplanetary trajectories. A stationary point on the Earth’s equator

(on the ground) has the highest orbital speed as the Earth rotates. Thus, rockets launched

eastward from an equatorial spaceport would travel faster relative to rockets launched from other

latitudes. Consequently, payloads launched from the Equator can be delivered to space with

lower fuel consumption rates. Incidentally, the concept of a spaceport located in East Africa is

not new. Between 1964 and 1988, the Broglio Space Centre (BSC) spaceport, an offshore

platform owned by the Italian Space Agency (ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) served as a

spaceport for the launch of both Italian and international satellites. The ASI offshore platform,

located off the coast of Kenya included a main offshore launch site, two secondary offshore

control platforms, and a communications ground station on the Kenyan mainland. However,

BSC is not currently used as a launch site. Our study proposes establishing a permanent

spaceport in the East Africa region close to the Equator, accessible to the mainland and airports.

There is a growing need for LEO and GEO access. This feasibility analysis discusses the global

advantages and the economic benefits for East Africa resulting from the development and

operation of such a Spaceport. Additional topics discussed include spaceport accessibility, asset

protection, and public safety.

Keywords: spaceport, East Africa, equatorial launch site, economic benefits, public safety