Zimbabwe Gets Ready to Launch Three Satellites

According to iHarare, Zimbabwe is gearing up to launch three new satellites. One of the satellites, ZimSat-2, an Earth Observation satellite,  is currently under development with advanced features and is scheduled for launch later this year. Moreover, the Zimbabwean government has approved the development of two additional satellites in the initial production phases.

According to Mthuli Ncube, Minister for Finance and Economic Development of Zimbabwe, the Southern country is collaborating with Japan. In addition, to ensure seamless integration of all moving parts and set the stage for Zimbabwe to manufacture its satellites independently, Japan is working with the African country to train Zimbabwean graduates.

“ Japan was Zimbabwe’s partner in developing our space satellite. Now, we are moving to phase two of building another space satellite, again with the support of Japan, which has been training our graduates in this regard. We are working on more satellites, with three more on the way,” Ncube said.

“I do confirm that in line with Zimbabwe’s national space strategy, ZINGSA is working on satellite manufacture, assembly, test and launch within a collaborative research framework with various partners,” stated  Mr Painos Gweme, Coordinator,  Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINSGA). Mr Gweme emphasised Zimbabwe’s long-term goal of domestically manufacturing its space satellites. He noted that concrete progress on the second satellite, ZimSat-2, is expected by June 2024. “The collaborative research programme is being done to build our local human capacity capable of designing, manufacturing, testing and launching satellites, setting up ground stations, uplink and downlink data and monitor and control satellites throughout their life in orbit. So, by June this year, you will be able to get concrete feedback on the progress of the second satellite.”

“The main purpose of these earth observation satellites is to provide scientific data of the current situation in the country. The ZimSat-1 was an educational earth observation cubesat intending to map land use, land cover and water quality monitoring. The second satellite will also be an earth observation satellite with more capabilities than ZimSat-1. The satellite will have more advanced sensors than the first one, and the image resolution will be improved. The ZimSat-2 project will ensure that local skills are developed and technology transfer is realised and localised. Above all, we will have a guaranteed continuation of landscape monitoring for the coming two to four years,” Gweme elaborated.

In 2022, Zimbabwe launched its first earth observation satellite, ZimSat-1,  to transmit data from orbit to the command centre at the Mazowe ground station. Since its launch, it has been instrumental in agricultural and mining mapping efforts.

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