Zimbabwe to launch satellite into orbit – Report

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe is set to launch its first satellite into orbit next month in a development expected to enhance mineral exploration, monitor environmental hazards and droughts and map human settlements and disease outbreaks, state media reported on Sunday.

The Sunday Mail said the Zimbabwean government planned to launch a nanosatellite – to be known as ZimSat-1 –  from the Japan’s KIBO Module, which is the Asian country's science module for the International Space Station (ISS). 

The programme is considered the first baby steps of Zimbabwe's fledgling space programme, which was launched in 2018 following the launch of the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA).

According to the weekly, the satellite, which was built by local engineers working with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan, would be launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

"We have our engineers on the ground in Japan who are making sure everything goes according to plan," ZINGSA coordinator Painos Gweme told the weekly, adding that the launch was expected to take place between July and August depending on weather conditions.

ZimSat-1 is an earth observation CubeSat, which falls under the small satellites category deployed by new space-faring countries.

ZINGSA is currently carrying out aerial mapping of urban settlements to identify dysfunctional, illegal and irregular settlements in the capital Harare. 


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