On Tuesday 5th April, 2017, the National Communications Authority (NCA) hosted officials from the Intelligence Space Systems Laboratory of the All Nations University (ANU) in Koforidua. They gave a presentation to the 1U CubeSat technology development and upcoming launch of a Ghana satellite which was developed by Ghanaian students as well as other activities of the Intelligence Space laboratory.
Mrs. Florence Martey, Acting Head of the Engineering Division of the Authority in welcoming the team from ANU said the NCA is always open to learning more about the industry within which it operates. She said that the Authority always takes the opportunity to learn new ideas and techniques that will help in developing the industry and country.
According to Mr. Benjamin Bonsu, a lecturer at the ANU and also one of the developers of the 1UCubesat, Ghana has become the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to obtain practical knowledge in building a CubeSat. This CubeSat can contribute towards efforts in addressing utilitarian and inspirational challenges in the areas of communication, remote sensing application, agriculture and illegal mining.
Giving a background, he said that the ANU established the Intelligence Space Systems Laboratory in February 2012 with the mission to promote and build human capacity in the area of Space Systems and Satellite Technology. The lab is first in Ghana and Sub Saharan Africa to successfully launch a CANSAT and build a University Amateur VHF/UHF ground station.
Messrs Joseph Quansah, Ernest Teye Matey and Benjamin Bonsu are the developers of CubeSat 1 also known as the GHANASAT1. Their objectives were to demonstrate that a 1U CubeSat can be built and operated successfully in a time frame shorter than 2 years, even for developing countries with limited (or zero) satellite experience with proper design and planning.
The success of their endeavours also demonstrated that a sustainable and robust space program can be started with minimum budget at universities in emerging or developing countries.
The satellite which has been scheduled to be launched by NASA mid-April, will orbit in space for four (4) months. Its mission in space are as follows:
- Monitor the coastal areas of Ghana and other neighbouring countries
- Play the national anthem, other independence songs and school anthems of some high schools and tertiary institutions from space.
- Investigate the radiation effects on commercial-off-the-shelf microprocessors.
- Measure the single event latch-up occurrence that degrades electronic system on board satellites due to the harsh space environment and analyse this data to contribute to scientific research.
Mr. Bonsu said CubeSats are a class of artificial satellites that use a standard size and form factor. The standard CubeSat size uses a one unit measurement (10x10x10 cms). These small satellites offer opportunities to conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations in space in such a way that is cost-effective, timely and relatively easy to accomplish.
Issued by the National Communications Authority.