Zimbabwe launches first satellite
Zimbabwe has launched its first satellite to space, alongside Uganda and Japan.
The ZimSat-1 was launched yesterday after one day's delay owing to a fire alarm incident at the control station. It was deployed from Virginia, USA at the Mid-Atlantic NASA Regional Spaceport facility aboard the Northrop Grumman spacecraft.
Zimbabwe National Geo Spacial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) co-ordinator, Painos Gweme, said the full deployment of the Zimbabwean satellite into space will take up to a month.
“We have made a milestone…we will have real time data. Zimbabwe will be in a very good position to collect its own information which it can use for decision making,” said Professor Fanuel Tagwira, Permanent Secretary, Science and Technology Development Ministry.
Built by three Zimbabwean scientists, with assistance from the Japanese Kyushu Institute of Technology, the ZimSat-1 satellite will provide Zimbabwe with useful data relating to its mineral quantities, information gathering to detect natural disasters as well as weather monitoring which is useful for its key agricultural sector.
“Who said dreams don’t come true,” tweeted one of the scientists Timothy Kuhamba.
Eight years ago Kuhamba posted on social media that he had a dream to build and deploy a Zimbabwean satellite into space. He worked on building Zim-Sat1 together with Zimbabwean scientists Ramson Munyaradzi Nyamukondiwa and Victor Mukunungugwa.
According to Gweme, after deployment from earth, the rocket carrying Zim-Sat1 will dock at the international space station before deploying the three satellites for Zimbabwe, Uganda and Japan.
He was quoted by state media in Zimbabwe explaining that a remote multi-sectoral camera affixed to ZimSat-1 will be utilised “primarily for agricultural application, crop yield estimation, land cover” and land-use.
“We can see our forestry and the change over time because it has what we call a store and forward mission as part of the pilot which we are going to use together with the ground centre terminal,” he said.