Space Program of The Congo
------The Congolese (Democratic Republic) Space Agency------
Level = 0 Development: Very Low
What has been going on in Congo (Zaire)?
What kind of space power do they have?
Does Congo (Zaire) have space weapons?
What are they planning over there?
Population: 60,000,000 / Language: French / GDP: $675 / Cities: Kinshasa
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A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been at the centre of what could be termed Africa's world war.
This has left it in the grip of a humanitarian crisis.
The five-year conflict pitted government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. Despite a peace deal and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, the threat of civil war remains.
The war claimed an estimated three million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. It has been called possibly the worst emergency to unfold in Africa in recent decades.
AT A GLANCE
The war had an economic as well as a political side. Fighting was fuelled by the country's vast mineral wealth, with all sides taking advantage of the anarchy to plunder natural resources.
The history of DR Congo has been one of civil war and corruption. After independence in 1960, the country immediately faced an army mutiny and an attempt at secession by its mineral-rich province of Katanga.
A year later, its prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, was seized and killed by troops loyal to army chief Joseph Mobutu.
In 1965 Mobutu seized power, later renaming the country Zaire and himself Mobutu Sese Seko. He turned Zaire into a springboard for operations against Soviet-backed Angola and thereby ensured US backing. But he also made Zaire synonymous with corruption.
After the Cold War, Zaire ceased to be of interest to the US. Thus, when in 1997 neighbouring Rwanda invaded it to flush out extremist Hutu militias, it gave a boost to the anti-Mobutu rebels, who quickly captured the capital, Kinshasa, installed Laurent Kabila as president and renamed the country DR Congo.
Nonetheless, DR Congo's troubles continued. A rift between Mr Kabila and his former allies sparked a new rebellion, backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe took Kabila's side, turning the country into a vast battleground.
Despite coup attempts and sporadic violence a fragile peace has held since the formal end of the war. But the Kinshasa government has no control over large parts of the country and tension remains high in the east.
Moreover, the lot of DR Congo's citizens is little improved. The Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think-tank, said in 2005 that 1,000 people were dying every day from war-related causes, including disease, hunger and violence.
Full name: Democratic Republic of the Congo
President: Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila became Congo's president when his father Laurent was assassinated in 2001. He gained a mandate through the ballot box to rule the vast country as its elected leader in an election in 2006.
Joseph Kabila, Africa's youngest head of state
The historic presidential election was intended to bring a new era of stability after years of war, dictatorship and chaos. The vote was generally praised by international monitors.
Kabila has enjoyed the clear support of western governments such as the United States and France, regional allies such as South Africa and Angola and businessmen and mining magnates who have signed multi-million dollar deals under his rule.
Kabila is a former guerrilla fighter who participated in nearly a decade of war that ravaged the country.
Congo (Zaire)'s Space Infrastructure
Congo is one of the world's poorest countries, and home to the second largest rainforest. It has no agency, but also no infrastructure in which one would arise. Its has no scientific university and the government has no ministry devoted to science of this type.
Congo has no history of being part of any organization dealing with space, nor has any launch capability.
Congo lacks the industrial base, the educational base and the political foundation for a process like this to occur within it. It has an institution of higher learning (the University of Kinshasa) but this school does not confer degrees in astrophysics or astronautics. The Congo has nonexistant industry apart from mining.
Congo operates no satellites and, not having a presence, has no space power.
The government of Congo in Kinshasa has no plans for attempting to further any ambition in space development or research.
Timeline of Events in Congo (Zaire)
...From the Past to the Future
1200s - Rise of Kongo empire, centred in modern northern Angola and including extreme western Congo and territories round lakes Kisale and Upemba in central Katanga (now Shaba).
Congo River, Africa's second longest, feeds DR Congo's economy
1482 - Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao becomes the first European to visit the Congo; Portuguese set up ties with the king of Kongo.
16th-17th centuries - British, Dutch, Portuguese and French merchants engage in slave trade through Kongo intermediaries.
1870s - Belgian King Leopold II sets up a private venture to colonise Kongo.
1874-77 - British explorer Henry Stanley navigates Congo river to the Atlantic Ocean.
1879-87 - Leopold commissions Stanley to establish the king's authority in the Congo basin.
1884-85 - European powers at the Conference of Berlin recognise Leopold's claim to the Congo basin.
1885 - Leopold announces the establishment of the Congo Free State, headed by himself.
1891-92 - Belgians conquer Katanga.
Patrice Lumumba: Charismatic leader's murder was widely blamed on Belgium, US
1892-94 - Eastern Congo wrested from the control of East African Arab and Swahili-speaking traders.
1908 - Belgian state annexes Congo amid protests over killings and atrocities carried out on a mass scale by Leopold's agents. Millions of Congolese are said to have been killed or worked to death during Leopold's control of the territory.
1955 - Belgian Professor Antoin van Bilsen publishes a "30-Year Plan" for granting the Congo increased self-government.
1959 - Belgium begins to lose control over events in the Congo following serious nationalist riots in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).
1960 June - Congo becomes independent with Patrice Lumumba as prime minister and Joseph Kasavubu as president.
1960 July - Congolese army mutinies; Moise Tshombe declares Katanga independent; Belgian troops sent in ostensibly to protect Belgian citizens and mining interests; UN Security Council votes to send in troops to help establish order, but the troops are not allowed to intervene in internal affairs.
1960 September - Kasavubu dismisses Lumumba as prime minister.
1960 December - Lumumba arrested.
1961 February - Lumumba murdered, reportedly with US and Belgian complicity.
1961 August - UN troops begin disarming Katangese soldiers.
1963 - Tshombe agrees to end Katanga's secession.
1964 - President Kasavubu appoints Tshombe prime minister.
1965 - Kasavubu and Tshombe ousted in a coup led by Joseph Mobutu.
1971 - Joseph Mobutu renames the country Zaire and himself Mobutu Sese Seko; also Katanga becomes Shaba and the river Congo becomes the river Zaire.
President Mobutu, thought to have amassed a $4 billion fortune
1973-74 - Mobutu nationalises many foreign-owned firms and forces European investors out of the country.
1977 - Mobutu invites foreign investors back, without much success; French, Belgian and Moroccan troops help repulse attack on Katanga by Angolan-based rebels.
1989 - Zaire defaults on loans from Belgium, resulting in a cancellation of development programmes and increased deterioration of the economy.
1990 - Mobutu agrees to end the ban on multiparty politics and appoints a transitional government, but retains substantial powers.
1991 - Following riots in Kinshasa by unpaid soldiers, Mobutu agrees to a coalition government with opposition leaders, but retains control of the security apparatus and important ministries.
1993 - Rival pro- and anti-Mobutu governments created.
1994 - Mobutu agrees to the appointment of Kengo Wa Dondo, an advocate of austerity and free-market reforms, as prime minister.
1996-97 - Tutsi rebels capture much of eastern Zaire while Mobutu is abroad for medical treatment.
Aftermath of Mobutu
1997 May - Tutsi and other anti-Mobutu rebels, aided principally by Rwanda, capture the capital, Kinshasa; Zaire is renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo; Laurent-Desire Kabila installed as president.
1998 August - Rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda rise up against Kabila and advance on Kinshasa. Zimbabwe, Namibia send troops to repel them. Angolan troops also side with Kabila. The rebels take control of much of the east of DR Congo.
1999 - Rifts emerge between Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) rebels supported by Uganda and Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) rebels backed by Rwanda.
Lusaka peace accord signed
1999 July - The six African countries involved in the war sign a ceasefire accord in Lusaka. The following month the MLC and RCD rebel groups sign the accord.
DR Congo's five-year war claimed around three million lives
2000 - UN Security Council authorises a 5,500-strong UN force to monitor the ceasefire but fighting continues between rebels and government forces, and between Rwandan and Ugandan forces.
2001 January - President Laurent Kabila is shot dead by a bodyguard. Joseph Kabila succeeds his father.
2001 February - Kabila meets Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Washington. Rwanda, Uganda and the rebels agree to a UN pull-out plan. Uganda, Rwanda begin pulling troops back from the frontline.
2001 May - US refugee agency says the war has killed 2.5 million people, directly or indirectly, since August 1998. Later, a UN panel says the warring parties are deliberately prolonging the conflict to plunder gold, diamonds, timber and coltan, used in the making of mobile phones.
2002 January - Eruption of Mount Nyiragongo devastates much of the city of Goma.
Search for peace
2002 April - Peace talks in South Africa: Kinshasa signs a power-sharing deal with Ugandan-backed rebels, under which the MLC leader would be premier. Rwandan-backed RCD rebels reject the deal.
2002 July - Presidents of DR Congo and Rwanda sign a peace deal under which Rwanda will withdraw troops from the east and DR Congo will disarm and arrest Rwandan Hutu gunmen blamed for the killing of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
2002 September - Presidents of DR Congo and Uganda sign peace accord under which Ugandan troops will leave DR Congo.
UN peacekeepers are stretched by the scale of their mission
2002 September/October - Uganda, Rwanda say they have withdrawn most of their forces from the east. UN-sponsored power-sharing talks begin in South Africa.
2002 December - Peace deal signed in South Africa between Kinshasa government and main rebel groups. Under the deal rebels and opposition members are to be given portfolios in an interim government.
2003 April - President Kabila signs a transitional constitution, under which an interim government will rule pending elections.
2003 May - Last Ugandan troops leave eastern DR Congo.
2003 June - French soldiers arrive in Bunia, spearheading a UN-mandated rapid-reaction force.
President Kabila names a transitional government to lead until elections in two years time. Leaders of main former rebel groups are sworn in as vice-presidents in July.
2003 August - Interim parliament inaugurated.
2004 March - Gunmen attack military bases in Kinshasa in an apparent coup attempt.
2004 June - Reported coup attempt by rebel guards is said to have been neutralised.
2004 December - Fighting in the east between the Congolese army and renegade soldiers from a former pro-Rwanda rebel group. Rwanda denies being behind the mutiny.
2005 March - UN peacekeepers say they have killed more then 50 militia members in an offensive, days after nine Bangladeshi soldiers serving with the UN are killed in the north-east.
2005 May - New constitution, with text agreed by former warring factions, is adopted by parliament.
Post-war charter underpins hopes for a stable future
2005 September - Uganda warns that its troops may re-enter DR Congo after a group of Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels enter via Sudan.
2005 November - A first wave of soldiers from the former Zairean army returns after almost eight years of exile in the neighbouring Republic of Congo.
2005 December - Voters back a new constitution, already approved by parliament, paving the way for elections in 2006.
International Court of Justice rules that Uganda must compensate DR Congo for rights abuses and the plundering of resources in the five years up to 2003.
2006 February - New constitution comes into force; new national flag is adopted.
2006 March - Warlord Thomas Lubanga becomes first war crimes suspect to face charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is accused of forcing children into active combat.
2006 May - Thousands are displaced in the north-east as the army and UN peacekeepers step up their drive to disarm irregular forces ahead of the elections.
2006 July - Presidential and parliamentary polls are held - the first free elections in four decades. With no clear winner in the presidential vote, incumbent leader Joseph Kabila and opposition candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba prepare to contest a run-off poll on 29 October. Forces loyal to the two candidates clash in the capital.
2006 November - Joseph Kabila is declared winner of October's run-off presidential election. The poll has the general approval of international monitors.
2006 December - Forces of renegade General Laurent Nkunda and the UN-backed army clash in North Kivu province, prompting some 50,000 people to flee. The UN Security Council expresses concern about the fighting.
TODAY AND INTO THE FUTURE