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ZIMSAT-1 to be launched this Monday

By John Nhandara

Zimbabwe is set to join the League of Nations that have launched satellites into space when it sends its first satellite, ZimSat-1, into orbit this Monday after developing it through the BIRDS-5 Project.

ZIMSAT-1 was set to be deployed into international space this Sunday through a spacecraft, NG 18 Cygnus, which was scheduled to take off from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Virginia in the United States.

The deployment has, however, been postponed to this Monday due to a fire alarm in some parts of the control building.

The development of the satellite began in 2018 when President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the Zimbabwe National Geo Spacial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) with the aim of enhancing mineral exploration and infrastructure management and mapping, among other benefits.

“We have two issues, that is the rocket leaving earth going to international space station ,then when it reaches there, ZIMSAT-1 is going to be prepared for actual deployment into space and thus will take three to four weeks depending on the space weather,” explained ZINGSA co-ordinator, Dr Painos Gweme.

He also spoke on the benefits of ZIMSAT-1.

“ZIMSAT-1 WAS developed by three Zimbabwean engineers whom we sent to Japan. This satellite is primarily an earth observation and data transmission satellite. It also has a store and forward payload which is used to gather data from ground sensors for both weather and disaster monitoring. It will also help raise awareness and knowledge about space and satellites to the citizens of Zimbabwe.”

The satellite also has nine missions which among other assignments provide data analysis and prediction of weather, water quality, soil fertility, landslides and drought.

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