Authorities have said the launch of Zimbabwe’s first satellite, ZimSat-1, into space has been moved to 28 October after missing the July deadline due to stormy weather.
ZimSat-1 is scheduled to reach the International Space Station (ISS) in October before its launch into orbit in November.
The Sunday Mail reports that ZimSat-1 is provisionally scheduled to reach the ISS on October 28, before being launched from the Japanese Kibo module.
Zimbabwe’s space programme began in 2018 following the establishment of the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA).
It is envisaged that the satellite will immensely enhance the country’s mineral exploration, monitoring of environmental hazards and mapping of human settlements, among other capabilities.
ZINGSA co-ordinator Dr Painos Gweme said the launch is now imminent. He said:
Our launch was disturbed by weather and it is now scheduled for October 28.
The rocket will go to the International Space Station in October, then the satellite will be loaded into the Japanese Kibo module, awaiting release into space.
This is usually determined by weather in space.
So, it usually takes two or three weeks, then the satellite is released into orbit.
We already have the necessary infrastructure in place. We have the receiving systems in place, so once we launch, we will immediately be able to put our space presence to good use.
Three Zimbabwean scientists are said to have been in Japan working on the project.
Authorities say the satellite will enable Zimbabwe to deploy geospatial technology to manage its boundaries, calculate its full mineral quantities and help telecommunications companies improve their services.
Over the past three years, ZINGSA developed a Revised Agro-Ecological Map for Zimbabwe, which was last updated in 1960.
Meanwhile, critics say Zimbabwe needs to fix basics like roads and hospitals first before “dreaming” about going to space.