Ghana is the first Sub-Saharan African country to send a satellite into orbit around the earth, as the Ghanasat-1 was released from the International Space Station Friday, nearly a month after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Elon Musk’s SpaceX flight 11.
Approximately 400 people were reportedly on hand to witness the historic satellite being sent into orbit from the All Nations University in Koforidua by a Japan/KIBO Deployment system onboard.
The satellite, which was built by students at the school, is equipped with cameras and a device which will facilitate the broadcast of the country’s national anthem and other independence songs from space.
Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo congratulated the engineers: Benjamin Bonsu, Ernest Matey and Joseph Quansah for the feat he described as “inspiring dedication, enthusiasm and insight for the project.”
Dr. Richard Damoah, the product coordinator, highlighted the importance of the achievement for further development in the program. “It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space,” he told the BBC.
The Cubesat satellite weighs 1,000 grams and was developed over a period of two years at a cost of approximately US$51,500.
It will be used to monitor the country’s coastline in addition to boosting Ghana’s satellite technology. The satellite’s progress will be monitored by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at the Tsukuba Space Center in Japan by a team led by Ghana’s Ambassador to Japan, Sylvester Parker Allotey.
A statement issued detailed that the project was the first of its kind in Ghana, attracting university scholars, researchers, government workers, among many others.
“Its members are made (up) of the university students and faculty members who are dedicated to championing and establishing Space Science research and study in Ghana and Africa,” the statement explained.