Current Affairs: GhanaSat-1 Puts Africa on the Space Map


Space is not something which comes to one’s mind when discussing Africa. But as Ghana launches its first satellite GhanaSat-1, industry experts are elated that Africa has finally entered the space race.

GhanaSat – 1: A Note

Basically, a CubeSat, GhanaSat – 1 aims to integrate the high school curriculum with satellite technology along with monitoring the nation’s deep coastlines. The satellite will also be used to measure the effects of radiation in space on commercial microprocessors. Most of the resources and training which went into the making of this satellite was provided by JAXA – the Japanese national space agency. The project was supported by Japan as part of the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project, which is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-spacefaring countries.

Being a CubeSat, the satellite weighs around 1kg and works on power generated by solar cells. Launched from NASA’s International Space Station, GhanaSat-1 is the brainchild of Ghanaian students at All Nations University. Basically, an earth observation and technology demonstrator satellite, GhanaSat was carried in a Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket. Apart from this satellite, the mission also carried other satellites from Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mongolia, and Japan.

Africa’s Space Dream

Countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa already have space agencies of their own. Of late, even Angola have been working on coming up with its very own space agency. All these developments have pushed Africa a step further towards realizing its space faring dreams. From being a ‘dark continent’ to moving towards becoming a continent rich in natural resources, human resources, and technological expertise – Africa is gradually building itself as the next global contender to watch out for.

Satellites play a critical role in placing the nation at par with other scientifically inclined and developed nations. Not only does it help in improving the overall response to natural calamities, but it also enables better management of agriculture, and smooth functioning of security strategies.

The successful launch of GhanaSat-1 has not only proved Ghana’s mettle as a African power in the making, but has also encouraged the student community and government bodies to invest in the next GhanaSat-2 project as well.

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