GhanaSat-1 Project Leader Honored

Mr Ben Bonsu (left) receiving a certificate from Ms Lyn D. Wigbels, a Senior Fellow and Assistant Professor at the Centre for Aerospace Policy Research at George Mason University. With them is Christophe Bonnal, a Senior Expert from the French Space Agency

The International Astronautic Federation (IAF) has conferred the 2017 Best Interactive Presentation Award to Mr Benjamin Bonsu, the leader of the GhanaSat-1 Project that launched Ghana’s first satellite into space on July 7, 2017.

The award was given in recognition of his presentation on GhanaSat-1 and the current space activities in Ghana at the 68th International Astronautical Congress held in Adelaide, Australia in September 2017.

His presentation, titled: “First Ghana satellite to enhance sustainable space programme in Ghana,” won the Space and Society Category, making him one of the best five award winners from Germany, Ghana, Italy and Malaysia. The award winners were selected among the 538 participants in the ceremony.


As part of his award, Mr Bonsu was offered 300 euros, a one-minute video capsule, an opportunity to talk about his paper which will be published on IAF Youtube page and other television networks globally, as well as a gala dinner with major space experts.

The Interactive Presentation Award is awarded annually to recognise exceptional students and young professionals who demonstrate leadership early in their academic and professional careers.

Additionally, award recipients are recognised, among others, for their contributions to astronautics through their academic and professional activities, as well as their efforts in sharing their knowledge and experience with other young people.


After receiving the award, Mr Bonsu expressed appreciation to the President of the All Nations University College (ANUC), Dr Samuel H. Donkor, for sponsoring the GhanaSat-1 Project, which was part of the Birds Project of the Kyushu Institute of Technology (KYUTECH) in Fukuoka, Japan.

“The Birds Project is one of the unique projects where developing countries can build their capacity in satellite development, mission planning and disposal.

“Today, Ghana, by virtue of the Birds Project, is part of the global space community,” he said, and urged the government to support university-based approach in building capacity in space science technology in the country.


Mr Bonsu, who is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Applied Science for System Engineering at KYUTECH, and his colleagues—Joseph Quansah and Ernest Teye Matey–designed, assembled and tested Ghana’s first satellite, christened “GhanaSat-1” which was launched into space in July 2017.

The trio, former students of ANUC were part of the Birds Project implemented by the Graduate School of Engineering of the KYUTECH for five nations aspiring to be space-faring.

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2017 World Space Week


The All Nations University College (ANUC), the institution that put Ghana on the world map following the successful launch of Ghana’s first satellite dubbed GhanaSat-1 into  the orbit in July this year, has trained hundreds of young girls in Space Technology as part of the 2017 World Space Week ,celebrated worldwide annually from October 4 to 10.

The theme for the empowerment programme organised by the Space Systems Technology Laboratory (SSTL) of the University was ‘Empowering Young Women in Engineering and Technology’.

The pupils, drawn from 17 basic schools in the New Juaben Municipality, were taken through basic theory of Satellite Technology, the contribution and ability of Women in Engineering, Basics of Engineering and its importance to national development and job opportunities. The participants were offered the opportunity to engage in handcrafts and drawings out of the knowledge acquired.

A member of the technical team of ANUC who built the historic GhanSat-1 Satellite, Mr Joseph Neenyi Kojo Quansah told the DAILY HERITAGE that the University wants to revolutionize Space Technology in Ghana to whip up the interest of the youth and political actors.

He said “Satellite Technology is critical to the development of Ghana, hence the University is working with the Government and other relevant bodies to build the human capacity and get develop laws and infrastructure for the realisation of the vision”.

“Satellite Technology is beneficial in so many ways, as a developing country we need to build the human capacity. If we are able to build the human capacity we will move on to exploring the benefits of Telecommunications, Satellite for Earth Observation, Satellite for Telemedicine and so many other applications. So if we have the engineers on ground you would be comfortable to do whatever you want to do.”

He added that “Now we don’t have fully furnished Space Agency and that is what we looking at, we also need space laws backing these activities in Ghana.”

On July 7, 2017, the University put Ghana on the world map by launching GhanaSat-1 through the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at altitude of 400 kilometers above the Earth’s atmosphere aboard the Japan Kibo Deployment System.

The satellite is expected to undertake earth imaging of Ghana and broadcast the national Anthem from space to the Amateur Ground Station at the campus of the University.

Mr Quansah told the Daily Heritage that the satellite is in its operation stage and will soon begin its mission. ”For the satellite mission we have three stages: development, launch and  operation; among these three we have successfully completed the development and the launch, leaving us with what we are currently working on – the operation. For the operation we have series of missions on it, some including taking pictures of the Earth, broadcasting songs, and other procedures critical to the success of the project.”

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All Nations University’s quest into space technology takes giant leap

JAXA safety team inspecting the flight model of GHANASAT. Looking on is Dr Donkor (3rd left), President of All Nations University College.


The desire of All Nations University College (ANUC) in Koforidua to make Ghana a space-faring nation took a giant leap when the first-ever successfully developed satellite by Ghanaian students in Japan was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

This was after the satellite had gone through a rigorous safety review and flight fit test in February this year.


JAXA took delivery of the Cubesat, dubbed Ghanasat-1, on February 9, 2017 and handed it over to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Florida, USA on February 13.

Ghana's first satellite will be launched on the International Space Station (ISS) by Space X, Flight 11 from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA. NASA's rocket launch will come off next month. Consequently, GhanaSat1 will be deployed from the International Space Station into orbit at an altitude of 420km on May 25, 2017.  The deployment of GhanaSat1 will be watched live at JAXA Tsukuba Space Centre in Japan by top government officials and ministers.

The successful launch of the Cubesat, which weighs 1,000 grams is expected to make the dream of Ghana becoming a space-faring nation a reality and also boost the country’s capacity to take advantage of space science technology in the future.

Ghanasat1 mission

The Cubesat, described as the first university satellite in sub-Saharan Africa, has low and high resolution cameras on board to take pictures of our homeland and provide data that can be used to monitor the coastal areas of Ghana.

It also has Digi-Singer SNG mission from which the national anthem and other independence songs can be broadcast from space, as well as collect requested songs from the ground and send to the satellite to broadcast in space.

It is an initiative aimed at stimulating interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in high schools and tertiary institutions.

It will also embark on a scientific mission to investigate the radiation effects on commercial-off-the-shelf microprocessors. This means it will 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.

Brains behind project

The two-year project, made possible through a collaboration between the ANUC and the Kyutech Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan, began in October 2015, was completed in December 2016.

It was carried out entirely by three young engineering graduates of the ANUC who designed, assembled and tested the satellite when they joined the Birds project implemented by Kyutech for other four nations aspiring to be space-faring.

The trio, led by Benjamin Bonsu, a PhD student in Applied Science for System Engineering, Joseph Quansah and Ernest Teye Matey, executed the project under the supervision of Professor Mengu Cho, Director of Laboratory of Spacecraft Environment Interaction Engineering (LaSEINE) and other faculty members of Kyutech.

Previous accomplishments

The young engineers and their team in Ghana were the founder members of ANUC’s Space Science and Technology Laboratory (SSTL) which designed, developed and launched successfully the university’s miniaturised Cansat on May 15, 2013, an initiative that attracted the attention of both local and international media.

The trio completed their Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering at ANUC in 2013 and constructed the university’s amateur Ground Station that currently allows the station to receive information from passing satellites. An achievement that has made ANUC the first University in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa to accomplish such a feat in space science technology applications.

The effort contributed to make the university the only local institution to be given the licence as amateur licence operators by the National Communication Authority (NCA) in 2014.

Investment worthwhile

Throwing light on the project, the President of the ANUC, Dr Samuel H. Donkor, said one of the most important technologies that could advance the development of any nation was space science exploration.

“When ANUC realised that space science was something that could help move Ghana’s development forward we decided to invest over $500,000 in research in this area, starting with the development and successful launch of our Cansat in May 2013 and building a ground station a year later.

“As part of our commitment, we sponsored three young graduates to further their studies in space science technology and satellite development when they joined the Birds project that offered them the opportunity to design and build the Ghanasat-1 in two years,” Dr Donkor said.

To sustain the accomplishments, Dr Donkor gave an assurance that the University would continue to invest heavily to set up a laboratory for testing satellites that would make Ghana the only country in the sub-region to have a satellite centre.


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NCA Meets Ghana’s CubeSat Developer from the All Nations University

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.

Mrs. Florence Martey, Acting Head of the Engineering Division of NCA


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.


Mr. Benjamin Bonsu delivering the presentation.


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.


SSTL Team with GhanaSat-1


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.