Ibadan, 11 November 2022. – Uganda and Zimbabwe have launched their respective first satellites, on November 7 2022, onto the International Space Station for subsequent deployment into orbit at a later date. The satellites, PearlAfricaSat-1 and ZimSat-1, launched at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Northrop Grumman (NG-18 Cygnus) commercial cargo resupply services to the ISS).
The satellite launch results from the countries being beneficiaries of the Joint Global Multi-Nations Birds Satellite project, an initiative of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech). A cross-border University project, BIRDS, provides students from developing nations with hands-on satellite development, laying a foundation for similar space technology projects in their home countries that ultimately could lead to sustainable space programs there.
As a result, the BIRDS-5 will perform multispectral observations of Earth using a commercial off-the-shelf camera and demonstrate a high-energy electronic measuring instrument. The statistical data it collects will help distinguish bare ground from forest and farmland and possibly indicate the quality of agricultural growth. As a result, it may help improve the livelihood of the citizens of Uganda and Zimbabwe.