Ghana Launches Its First Satellite As Part of A New Era of African Space Exploration

Ghanaian satellite team – Benjamin Bonsu, Ernest Teye Matey, and Joseph Quansah (Photo: All Nations University College)

African nations have entered the space race, with Ghana as the most recent example of this bold technological achievement. Built by a group of engineers from All Nations University College (ANUC) in Ghana — Benjamin Bonsu, Ernest Teye Matey, and Joseph Quansah — the small satellite was launched on a SpaceX rocket from Kennedy Space Center, and was sent to the International Space Station in June, becoming fully functional in July after being deployed from the ISS.

Known as GhanaSat-1, the satellite is a CubeSat, a miniature satellite and a class of nanosatellites used for research purposes. These satellites are manufactured in Units (or U), with each U measuring 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 11 centimeters (3.94 inches by 3.94 inches by 4.33 inches), and weighing less than three pounds (1.33 kilograms), according to NASA. CubeSats are built 1U, 2U, 3U or 6U in size, and serve as auxiliary payloads on previously planned missions.

GhanaSat weighs 2.2 pounds, generates power from solar cells and internal batteries, and contains low- and high-resolution cameras. The satellite also broadcasts Ghana’s national anthem and other songs from space.

“This particular satellite has two missions,” Richard Damoah, a Ghanaian professor and assistant research scientist at NASA, told TechCrunch. “It has cameras on board for detailed monitoring of the coastlines of Ghana. Then there’s an educational piece ― we want to use it to integrate satellite technology into high school curriculum.” GhanaSat-1 will also send signals to the Space Systems and Technology Laboratory at ANUC. Damoah noted that while Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo congratulated the team, the government of Ghana did not officially sponsor the project. Rather, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan’s national space…

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