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Zimbabwe reveals satellite plans

Harare has announced its intention put a second spacecraft in orbit

Zimbabwe plans to launch its second satellite, ZimSat-2, in November, aiming to enhance the country’s data transmission and space technology capabilities, the local news agency Bulawayo24 reported on Monday. Pre-launch tests for ZimSat-2 have reportedly been completed. 

According to the country’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira, the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) is finalizing technical preparations ahead of winter launch.

“We are now waiting for the appropriate window, for the perfect space weather, which is in November,” he told journalists. Several other space projects are underway and will be announced in due course, Murwira added.

ZINGSA coordinator Painos Gweme explained that the initial May 26 launch date was postponed because the primary payload was not ready, which pushed the date window to November. “The launches are done in seasons, and this means we have also missed the June-July-August window, so we will now wait for the November window. The launch will now be done in November,” Gweme said.

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ZimSat-2 will be equipped with advanced sensors and imaging devices to support mineral exploration, environmental hazard monitoring, and drought management.

Zimbabwe launched its first Earth observation satellite, ZimSat-1, in November 2022. The spacecraft was deployed into orbit in December and transmits data to a command center at the Mazowe Ground Station. Since its deployment, ZimSat-1 has monitored ongoing droughts and facilitated mine mapping projects.

Zimbabwe plans to deploy three more Earth observation satellites in the coming years.

According to the latest report from Space Hubs Africa, 59 satellites have been launched by 15 African countries to date, with South Africa being the first in 1998. By 2025, the outlet expects 125 new African satellite development projects to be completed.

June 17, 2024 at 03:43PM
RT

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