Daka Space Technologies (DST) Limited is Malawi’s first space technology company, which was founded in August 2022 by a youthful entrepreneur – Chisomo Daka. It is Malawi’s first space technology company, which was founded in August 2022 by a youthful entrepreneur – Chisomo Daka.
DST essentially aims at conducting space technology research, development and exploration by designing low-cost and reliable space technology innovations that greatly improve living standards by enabling digital access and ease implementation of sustainable development initiatives in Malawi and across developing African countries.
In this exclusive interview with Chisomo Daka, our reporter Watipaso Mzungu (WM) engages Daka (CD) on his vision for the company as well as the nation.
WM: Tell us more about you as the founder of DST Limited.
CD: Chisomo Daka is the founder, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Daka Space Technologies. I am a well-trained and published physicist with a Master of Science in Physics obtained from LPU in India on 6th August 2020.
I also hold a Bachelor of Education Science degree (BEDSc.) obtained from the University of Malawi on 13th November 2015. In essence, I have extensive knowledge in applied physics and many other science and technology disciplines like Antenna Theory, Electromagnetics, Wireless Communication, Radio Frequency, Condensed Matter Physics, Classical and Quantum Mechanics, Electronics, the Internet of Things, Computer Programming, Database Systems etc.
I have vast years of experience in undertaking academic research and he is well published across disciplines in science and engineering. I also accumulated a lot of tech-entrepreneurial experience as I am the founder and Managing Director at Airwave Technologies (a computing and technology business founded in February 2017). Additionally, I roughly have two years of first-hand experience working in a CubeSat development project and I fully understand the work dynamics and level of sophistication required to design, develop, test and deploy CubeSat technologies and satellite ground stations, and how to manage deployed space missions.
WM: So, what do you intend to achieve with this company?
CD: DST also intends to provide satellite communication and remote sensing as services to governments, businesses and end users (i.e. customers) for various applications and use cases. Primarily, DST embarks on partnerships with research and academic institutions, especially those interested in space science research, and provides them with hands-on space based technology learning platforms and expert experience in conducting space research projects to both students and research experts.
Additionally, DST will in the near future collaborate with the Malawi Government (i.e. Ministries, Agencies and Departments) to stimulate the development of national space programs that can be used in: 1. Natural disaster detection, prevention, management and evacuation in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA); 2. National security in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the Malawi Defense Forces (MDF); 3. Space weather monitoring in collaboration with the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS); 4. Digitalization of rural and remote areas for inclusive digital education in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
WM: What’s the inspiration and motivation for setting up this company?
CD: My inspiration for starting a business in space technology and exploration industry originates from my prior experience in India at Lovely Professional University (LPU) where I was part of a student research project that was aimed at developing an innovative cube satellite (CubeSat) for quantifying and mapping trajectories of space debris under 5cm in length within the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
I was the Team Leader for the Payload sub-system of the CubeSat project. Among other things, the payload subsystem team was challenged to formulate new mathematical equations for defining and calibrating the laser ranging and detection capabilities of a customized pulsed laser for space debris detection in LEO orbit. In addition to leading the payload team, I also worked closely with the satellite ground station and communications subsystem teams to help with his unmatched experience in radio frequency (RF) systems; antenna design, simulation and fabrication techniques; and radio network design and deployment. The motivation behind DST is rested in our mission to design, develop and deploy high-quality innovative space-based technology products and services that are safe, reliable and affordable for adoption by governments, businesses and consumers in Africa. And our vision is to be the industry leader in space-based technologies that greatly advance digitalization and socio-economic transformation in Africa and beyond.
WM: Is this company in line with Malawi 2063 development blueprint?
CD: DST is absolutely in line with both the Malawi Vision 2063 and the African Agenda 2063. Firstly, through the Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, the African Union has identified space technologies as a critical tool that can boost Africa’s economic growth and development and lead to the rapid transformation of the continent.
Around 81 space application projects are currently being implemented across the continent funded by African and foreign institutions. These projects are capitalizing on earth observation resources and satellite communications to address various socio-economic problems across the continent, from disaster monitoring to security, agriculture, land use and management, forest management, among others.
In the context of Malawi, DST as a space technology pioneer will greatly fasten digital industrialization and enhance socio-economic development in Malawi. The Vision 2063 generally entails a self-reliant Malawi with robust industries. Hence, our initiatives will enable the country to embrace space technology design and development which consequently empowers us to export space technology intellectual property and products.
WM: How many employees are you targeting to employ?
CD: Once our business operations start, in the short term, we plan to employ anywhere between 15 to 30 people and we also engage student interns studying natural sciences and engineering.
However, our long term ambition is to be among (if not) the top employers in Malawi. We are mindful that our existence in Malawi’s society should be aimed at creating employment to our fellow citizens and foster economic development.
WM: Is there anything else you would want to tell our readers?
CD: I would like to appeal to my fellow youth in this country to be inspired to do great things. Our country needs us and we are the future of our nation. Let’s be hard working and motivated to develop Malawi to the next level.
Currently, there are a lot of untapped industries that need us as the youth of today to pioneer in order to unveil the long awaited transition from poverty to prosperity. What we need to know is that the Malawi vision 2063 greatly relies on us the youth to embrace it entirely since we are the ones to live long enough to propel the postulates of the vision to reality.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :