In a boost to the space and the scientific community in the country, Ghana’s first satellite, GhanaSat-1, recently began its orbit. With this, Ghana has become the first sub-Saharan African country to send a satellite into orbit.
Built by a group of Ghanaian students at the All Nations University in Koforidua, the satellite was launched from NASA’s International Space Station in July.
GhanaSat-1 weighs one kilogramme and will orbit 400 kms above the Earth. It has cameras that will be used to closely monitor Ghana’s coastline.
The launch was closely watched by the engineers and 400 people had gathered to catch the live updates. The first signal from the satellite was received shortly afterwards.
The satellite will send the signals to the ground station at the university’s laboratory, the place where it was initially developed by Messrs Benjamin Bonsu, Ernest Teye Matey and Joseph Quansah.
The team of engineers started working on the launch in 2015 and received support from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The entire project cost $500,000.
This is a great feat by the Ghanaian team and they ought to be commended, while Ghanaians must rejoice in the glory of these youngsters.
Indeed, the Daily Graphic is even more excited that this achievement by the science students has put the country on the global space map.
For us, the launch of GhanaSat-1 shows Africa’s growing interest in space exploration. Few reports also suggest that after the successful launch of GhanaSat-1, there are plans to soon launch GhanaSat 2 into space.
The next satellite will be equipped with better cameras and closely follow deforestation and the usage of water in the country.
Yes, we agree with Dr Richard Damoah, the product coordinator, that this feat highlights the importance of the achievement for further development of the programme.
It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space.
We are, therefore, adding our voice to calls for the government to prioritise satellite technology due to its potential benefits in fixing the environmental challenges facing the country.
We are confident that space technology can facilitate the fight against galamsey by providing accurate information on the menace nationwide.
With this, the country is not far from developing its own operational satellites which could one day be used to confront everything, from natural disasters to the smuggling of natural resources.
It is our expectation that this practical demonstration of what can be done by students such as the three engineers will generate more enthusiasm, fire up their imagination to come up with more creative things and show that it is possible that they will one day be able to launch their own real satellite into orbit.
The All Nations University, under the leadership of its President, Dr Samuel Donkor, has taken a giant step which must excite all.
It presents a good opportunity for Ghana to be counted among the countries ready to leverage space technology for national development.