|Names||Bird GG |
|Mission type||Technology demonstration |
|Operator||All Nations University|
|Mission duration||22 months, 14 days|
|Spacecraft type||1U CubeSat|
|Launch mass||1 kg (2.2 lb)|
|Dimensions||10 cm (4 in) cubed|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||3 June 2017, 21:07:38UTC|
|Rocket||Falcon 9 FT, CRS-11|
|Launch site||Kennedy LC-39A|
|Entered service||7 July 2017, 08:51 UTC|
|End of mission|
|Decay date||22 May 2019|
|Semi-major axis||6,778.8 km (4,212.2 mi)|
|Perigee altitude||397.8 km (247.2 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||403.6 km (250.8 mi)|
|Epoch||9 August 2017, 03:04:24 UTC|
GhanaSat-1 was the first Ghanaian satellite to be launched into space. It was designed and built in two years in conjunction with the Kyushu Institute of Technology's Birds-1 program, which has the goal of helping countries build their first satellite.
The satellite can take images, collect atmospheric data, measure space radiation, and transmit uploaded audio. GhanaSat-1 was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on a Falcon 9 rocket. It was released into space from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer on the ISS on 7 July 2017 and was used to monitor environmental activities along Ghana's coastline.
Japan supports non-spacefaring countries in building their first satellite through the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds satellite program, sponsored by Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT), which is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-spacefaring countries. Four guest countries participated in the Birds-1 program: Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Bangladesh. GhanaSat-1 was the first Ghanaian satellite launched into space.
Design and development
GhanaSat-1 was assembled and tested by three students at All Nations University. The five 1U CubeSats, four built by the guest countries and one by KIT, were all identical in their design. The two-year period spanning the development, construction, launch and operation of the satellites engaged three university students from each of the five participating countries. The satellite cost about US$500,000 to manufacture and launch.
GhanaSat-1 was a small satellite, weighing around 1 kilogram (2.2 lb). Power was generated from solar cells and stored in batteries. The satellite was cube shaped and measured 10 centimetres (4 in) on each side. The satellite carried low- and high-resolution cameras that took pictures of Ghana and monitored the country's coastline. The satellite had the ability to receive requested songs from the ground and transmit them from space; the national anthem of Ghana was one of the songs broadcast in orbit. Finally, the satellite measured the effects of radiation in space on commercial microprocessors.
GhanaSat-1 was given to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on 9 February 2017, and was then transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 12 February. The GhanaSat-1 Birds designation is Birds-G.
SpaceX launched the satellite on its CRS-11 mission to the International Space Station on 3 June 2017. The satellite was carried in a Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket, launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Pad 39A. This was the 100th launch from Pad 39A and the first time SpaceX reused one of its Dragon capsules. This mission also carried CubeSats from Japan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Mongolia. The satellites from Bangladesh (BRAC Onnesha) and Mongolia (Mazaalai) are those countries' first satellites.
GhanaSat-1 was released by a Japanese astronaut from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer, located in the Japanese Kibō module of the International Space Station, on 7 July 2017. The satellite launch was broadcast live and watched by over 400 people at All Nations University. The satellite orbited the Earth at an altitude of 400 kilometres (250 mi) and at an inclination of 51.6 degrees, completing an orbit around the planet every 92 minutes at a velocity of 7.67 kilometres per second (17,200 mph).
The satellite was primarily a technology demonstrator and Earth observation satellite. The Ghana scientists took images of the Ghanaian coastline for cartography. The director of Space Systems Technology Laboratory at All Nations University, Richard Damoah, said the satellite would "...also help us train the upcoming generation on how to apply satellites in different activities around our region. For instance, [monitoring] illegal mining is one of the things we are looking to accomplish." The satellite communicated with seven ground stations: one in each of the countries participating in the Birds-1 program, and one each in Thailand and Taiwan.
The university plans to coordinate with the government to build GhanaSat-2 and GhanaSat-3. The primary objective of GhanaSat-2 is to monitor water pollution, illegal mining, and deforestation. Japan's work with non-spacefaring countries continues with the Philippines, Bhutan, and Malaysia through Birds-2, launched in 2018 along with SpaceX CRS-15.
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