Zimbabwe’s first satellite launched after delay over fire alarm at site   

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei  

ZIMBABWE has finally launched its maiden satellite, ZimSat-1, Monday after the mission was delayed due to a fire alarm at the control building.

The launch was initially set for Sunday.

The ZimSat-1 is carried on a spacecraft, Northrop Grumman (NG-18) and took off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, USA.

The launch will be aired on NASA’s television and agency website at 1227hours.

Zimbabwe launched its satellite alongside Uganda and Japan.

After leaving earth to the International Space Station, the nanosatellite will be prepared for deployment into space.

According to Zimbabwe National Geo Spacial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) co-ordinator, Painos Gweme, the deployment takes three to four weeks depending on space weather.

The ZimSat-1 was built by three Zimbabwean scientists in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan through the BIRDS-5 Project.

The satellite is expected to help calculate full mineral quantities, infrastructure management, improve services of local telecommunications companies and gather data for ground sensors used in disaster and weather monitoring.