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Ghana’s All-Nations University Wants To Develop An African Constellation Satellite Project
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The need and use of space science and satellite technology for sustainable development cannot be overemphasized, and over the years, developed countries have explored and used Space Technology in diverse ways for their development. The All Nations University – Space Systems Technology Laboratory (ANU-SSTL), Koforidua, Ghana is trying to develop an Africa Constellation Satellite Network (AFCONSAT), a platform to train and develop human capital as a resource for the continent to pursue space-based missions to enhance development. The mission is to realize a collaborative effort between African countries to demonstrate the use of space science and satellite technology as an effective tool to enhance agriculture, economic security, weather and climate monitoring, disaster management, public health and environmental safety, therefore, pursuing the sustainable development goals for African development.

The laboratory was involved in the development and launch of Ghana’s first satellite named GhanaSat-1 into space on June 3rd 2017. The laboratory in 2014 established a satellite Ground Station at the university premises which has been communicating and receiving data from satellite passing over the region. The laboratory also host the NASA Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONENT) instrument which is used to measure atmospheric particles over Ghana. The ANU-SSTL will offer these facilities for capacity building purposes.

The AFCONSAT Project involves 10 African countries which include; Ghana, Burkina Faso,  Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Sierra Leone , Cape Verde, Uganda, Namibia, Lesotho and Bostwana. Institutions from these countries which are renowned in engineering are participating and are taking the opportunity to develop the first satellite for their country. On the 25th November 2019, at the 8th Space Science and Satellite Application (SSSTA) conference in Koforidua, the All Nations University hosted the AFCONSAT participants and concluded on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with them.

The institutions include the University of ​Norbert Zongo, Koudougou, Burkina Faso, the Africa Geospatial-intelligence Agency, Lome, Togo, Institute National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet-Biogny, Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire and the University of Sierra Leone, Freetown, Sierra Leone. The AFCONSAT project was launched at the conference. According to the schedule the first set of the constellation of the satellite will be launched into orbit by February 2021. The development of the satellites will be done by delegates from each participating country at the ANU-SSTL laboratory in Koforidua, Ghana. The Satellites will be launched as a group into the same orbit and will be operated in a constellation. This will provide a unique opportunity for Ghana and the rest of the African countries to use and share the satellite data.

When asked who will fund the project and what the satellites will be used for, Ernest Teye Matey, the Co-Founder and Outreach Manager of All Nations University – Space Systems Technology Laboratory said “The Project is funded by the institutions with possible support from their government. The satellite will be developed at the All Nations University College, Koforidua, Ghana, and delegates from each country will develop their own satellite. The cost of each satellite will only be known after the mission review which will be done in the next two months. It will be a nanosatellite project for Earth observation purpose and five satellites will be launched in the first phase (TogoSat-1, IvorySat-1, BurkinaSat-1, SierraLeoneSat-1, and GhanaSat-2).”

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