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Zimbabwe Scientists Look Forward to First Satellite


ZIMSAT-1 to Launch

A Cube Sat Launch includes Amateur Radio 

Zimbabwe plans to launch its first satellite, ZIMSAT-1, in February 2022. The CubeSat will host a multispectral camera and image classification tool, as well as a device to transmit and receive signals from amateur radio operators. Scientists said these tools will allow stakeholders to assess data more quickly and fully for issues like ground cover and drought. ZIMSAT-1 is the latest mission from the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite (BIRDS) project, a multinational program to help countries build their first satellite.

ZIMSAT-1 was built by Zimbabwean engineers working with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch it. In addition to the satellite itself, BIRDS supports a free app (BIRDS-NEST) with which satellite images from ZIMSAT-1 can be downloaded onto smartphones. ZIMSAT-1 will be a capstone to Zimbabwe’s rapidly-growing space program, which was established in 2018 as the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA), housed at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

In 2020, ZINGSA was allocated $7 million […]. Twenty-two years after South Africa launched the first African satellite, SunSat-1, the continent’s satellite fleet stands at 44. African countries including Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Sudan have successfully launched satellites. Many African countries have yet to launch a satellite, however, largely due to humanitarian priorities.

(Source: Munyaradzi Makoni (@MunyaWaMakoni), Science Writer, Eos, 102; EoS Science News by AGU | ZINGSA)

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