Space Program of Madagascar
------Madagascar's Space Agency------
Level = 1 Development: Very Low
What has been going on in Madagascar?
What kind of space power do they have?
Does Madagascar have space weapons?
What are they planning over there?
Population: 19,000,000 / Language: Malagasy / GDP: $900 / Cities: Antananarivo
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Madagascar is the world's fourth biggest island after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. Because of its isolation most of its mammals, half its birds, and most of its plants exist nowhere else on earth.
The island is heavily exposed to tropical cyclones which bring torrential rains and destructive floods, such as the ones in 2000 and 2004, which left thousands homeless.
The Malagasy are thought to be descendents of Africans and Indonesians who settled on the island more than 2,000 years ago. Malagasy pay a lot of attention to their dead and spend much effort on ancestral tombs, which are opened from time to time so the remains can be carried in procession, before being rewrapped in fresh shrouds.
Politics: Poll officials say President Ravalomanana has won the December 2006 elections. He first took office in 2002 after a power struggle with his predecessor, Didier Ratsiraka
Economy: Many areas suffer food shortages. Madagascar is to benefit from a G8 pledge to write off debts of 18 poor countries
International: Plans by Rio Tinto to start coastal strip mining in the south-east has drawn the attention of environmentalists
After sometimes harsh French colonial rule, which included the bloody suppression of an uprising in 1947, Madagascar gained independence in 1960. The military seized power in the early 1970s with the aim of achieving a socialist paradise.
This did not materialise. The economy went into decline and by 1982 the authorities were forced to adopt a structural adjustment programme imposed by the International Monetary Fund.
The World Bank has estimated that 70% of Malagasy live on less than $1 per day. Poverty and the competition for agricultural land have put pressure on the island's dwindling forests, home to much of Madagascar's unique wildlife and key to its emerging tourist industry.
The island has strong ties with France as well as economic and cultural links with French-speaking West Africa.
President: Marc Ravalomanana
President Marc Ravalomanana won a second five-year term after taking 54.8% of the vote in an election in December 2006. His nearest rival challenged the result.
The self-made dairy tycoon first came to power in 2002 after an eight-month political crisis which followed elections. He used huge street demonstrations and military force to defeat Didier Ratsiraka, a Marxist, who had ruled Madagascar for 23 years.
Madagascar's Space Infrastructure
Madagascar is one of the world's poorest countries, and is an island country. Not only does it not have an agency, but also no infrastructure in which one would arise. The University of Antananarivo does not offer astrophysics, astronautics or aeronautics, nor does the government have a ministry devoted to science of this type.
Madagascar has no history of being part of any organization dealing with space, nor has any launch capability.
Madagascar lacks the industrial base, the educational base and the political foundation for a process like this to occur within it.
Madagascar operates no satellites and, not having a presence, has no space power.
Timeline of Events in Madagascar
...From the Past to the Future
1880s-1905 - France consolidates its hold over Madagascar in the face of local resistance.
Antananarivo, the capital, was founded in the 17th century
1910-20 - Growth of nationalism fuelled by discontent over French rule.
1946 - Madagascar becomes an Overseas Territory of France.
1947 - French suppress armed rebellion in east. Thousands are killed.
1958 - Madagascar votes for autonomy.
1960 26 June - Independence with Philibert Tsiranana as president.
1972 - Amid popular unrest, Tsiranana dissolves government and hands power to army chief Gen Gabriel Ramanantsoa as head of a provisional government. He reduces the country's ties with France in favour of links with the Soviet Union.
1975 June - Lieutenant-Commander Didier Ratsiraka is named head of state after a coup. The country is renamed the Democratic Republic of Madagascar and Ratsiraka is elected president for a seven-year term.
1976 - Ratsiraka nationalises large parts of the economy, forms the Arema party. Over the years he increases state control over the economy until 1986 when he changes tack and promotes a market economy.
1992 - Under pressure of demonstrations, Ratsiraka introduces democratic reforms. A new constitution is approved by referendum.
1993 - Albert Zafy elected president.
1996 - Zafy impeached. Ratsiraka voted back into office.
2000 March - Thousands homeless after two cyclones hit the island and Mozambique.
2000 December - Arema wins in most of the cities, apart from Antananarivo, in provincial elections. The elections are for a new system of local government. Some 70% of voters stay away after the opposition called for a boycott, saying voters had not been properly informed about the reforms.
2001 February - An opposition parliamentary group, the Crisis Unit for the Defence of Democracy, is established following the jailing of MP Jean-Eugene Voninahitsy for insulting the president and cheque fraud.
2001 May - Senate reopens after 29 years, completing the government framework provided for in the 1992 constitution, which replaced the socialist revolutionary system. The new framework comprises the presidency, national assembly, senate and constitutional high court.
2001 December - First round of presidential elections. Opposition candidate Marc Ravalomanana claims an outright victory and says there's no need for a second round.
2002 January - Ravalomanana and his supporters mount a general strike and mass protests.
2002 February - Ravalomanana declares himself president after weeks of political deadlock with Ratsiraka over the December polls, which he says Ratsiraka rigged. Violence breaks out between rival protesters.
2002 April - High Constitutional Court declares Ravalomanana winner of the December polls after a recount. Ratsiraka says he'll ignore the verdict. In June the US recognises Ravalomanana as legitimate leader of Madagascar.
Ratsiraka in exile
2002 July - Ratsiraka seeks exile in France, marking end of seven-month political crisis.
Veteran leader Didier Ratsiraka was slow to give up power
2002 December - Ravalomanana's party, I Love Madagascar, wins a parliamentary majority in elections which are seen as a test of popular support.
2003 February - Former head of the armed forces is charged with over an attempted coup against President Ravalomanana.
2003 August - Exiled former president Didier Ratsiraka is sentenced in his absence to 10 years hard labour. He is accused of embezzling public funds.
2003 December - Former PM Tantely Andrianarivo is sentenced to 12 years hard labour for abuse of office.
2004 February/March - Tropical cyclones Elita and Gafilo hit; thousands are left homeless.
2004 October - World Bank, International Monetary Fund say they're writing off nearly half of Madagascar's debt - around $2bn.
2005 March - Madagascar is the first state to receive development aid from the US under a scheme to reward nations considered by Washington to be promoting democracy and market reforms.
2006 May - The main opposition parties boycott talks with President Ravalomanana which were intended to ease political tensions ahead of December's presidential elections.
2006 December - Officials declare Marc Ravalomanana, the incumbent, the winner of presidential elections.
TODAY AND INTO THE FUTURE