The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S first earth observation satellite — ZimSat-1 — will begin transmitting data from space to the Mazowe Satellite Station next month after undergoing orbital stabilisation.
It was deployed into orbit last December. The satellite is currently being monitored from the Mazowe Satellite Station, where technicians are conducting a number of tests, including ascertaining its ability to transmit data from space.
In an interview, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said: “ZimSat-1 is now in the testing or observation period, where technicians are testing its communication capabilities from the ground centre.
“This normally takes between two and four months. We are happy with the progress made so far and preparations for development of the second satellite are ongoing. News on that will be made public in due course.”
Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) coordinator Mr Painos Gweme told The Sunday Mail that the stabilisation period will be completed soon.
“When the ZimSat-1 satellite was released into orbit, it started to rotate (this is what all satellites do after launch) with higher angular velocity and its stabilisation is normally expected within the first three months from date of release into orbit,” he said.
“Therefore, ZimSat-1 is currently in the stabilisation phase and being monitored from the Mazowe ground station.”
ZimSat-1, said Mr Gweme, is an earth observation and data transmission satellite equipped with “a four-band multispectral optical imager with spectral bands ranging from 550nm to 790nm”.
The imager is used for earth observation.
“The satellite also has a red-green-blue (RGB) colour optical imager. This is to be used for agricultural mapping. A store and forward payload are used to gather data from ground sensors for both weather and disaster monitoring, among other remote sensing applications.”
This technology, said Mr Gweme, will help improve the level of disaster preparedness and monitoring.
“Additionally, for weather monitoring, solar illumination for optimised solar farm deployment and to transmit any data from remote locations to the command centre.
“The Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) digipeater shall provide digital message relay service to the amateur radio community by means of digipeating.”
Zimsat-1 was launched on November 7 and released into orbit on December 2 last year.