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Zimbabwe launches first satellite, ZimSat-1, into space



Zimbabwe has successfully launched its first satellite into space.

ZimSat-1, a nanosatellite, was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.

The launch took place from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Launch Facility in Virginia on board the Cygnus NG-18, an uncrewed spacecraft that provides commercial cargo resupply services to the ISS.

The actual deployment of ZimSat-1 into orbit will be done through the Japanese Kibo module about two weeks after the launch.

Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Permanent Secretary Fanuel Tagwira affirmed that the launch is a major milestone for Zimbabwe’s space technology development.

“We are getting into that phase of development as a country where we can gather information we can use in agriculture, health and other areas.

“We will have real-time data instead of waiting for data coming from other people. Zimbabwe is going to be in a very good position to collect its own information, which it can use for decision-making,” he said.

Read also:Zimbabwean govt commences sale of gold coins

Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) coordinator Painos Gweme said the satellite would enhance Zimbabwe’s mineral exploration and monitoring of environmental hazards.

“This has a multi-spectral camera which has a remote standing camera which we are going to use primarily for agricultural application, crop yield estimation, land cover and land use,” Mr Gweme told the Herald. “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.’’

ZimSat-1 was built by Zimbabwean engineers working in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency under a Joint Global Multi-Nation BIRDS Satellite programme.

It was launched into space under the BIRDS-5 project.

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