“History is on its way. #ZimSat1 in space!” Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana cheered on Twitter, welcoming an “important scientific step for the country.”
NASA has confirmed the launch of a rocket at 10:32 GMT in Virginia, United States on a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station (ISS), aboard three CubeSats developed by Zimbabwe, Uganda and Japan.
“Satellites will take pictures of the Earth to collect data to monitor weather and disasters,” the agency said in a post on Twitter, accompanied by a photo of small technology centers decorated with a national flag.
In a press release, NASA said that the collected images will also make it possible to distinguish bare soil from forests and farmland and can be used to “improve the livelihoods of the citizens of Uganda and Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwe has been working on the project, which was launched less than a year after President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office, since 2018. Robert Mugabe’s successor, he created the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA).
In this poverty-stricken country and battered economy, the announcement of a satellite being put into orbit provoked strong reactions on social networks. The cost of the project was not disclosed.
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