The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has reported that the launch of the country’s first satellite carried on a spacecraft, the Northrop Grumman (NG-18 Cygnus), has been postponed due to reports of a fire in the control room building.
The state-owned broadcaster indicated that the highly publicised mission would be tried again on Monday, 7 November 2022.
In a statement, the broadcaster said, “The launch of the NG-18 rocket that carries Zimbabwe’s ZimSat-1 has been postponed due to a fire alarm in some parts of the building. However, the weather and the rocket were reported to be okay.”
“The launch will be tomorrow at 12.27 pm Zimbabwean time. It will air on Nasa Television and the agency’s website.”
It was reported that the ZimSat-1 would start its journey into space through the spacecraft NG-18 Cygnus, which is scheduled to take off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Nasa’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island in Virginia in the US.
According to media reports, Zimbabwe and Uganda are scheduled to launch their first satellites, ZimSat-1 and PearlAfricaSat-1, into space. Both are 1U CubeSats that will be launched alongside the 2U CubeSat from Japan.
ZimSat-1 was built by Zimbabwean engineers working in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is scheduled to launch it.
Once launched, Zimbabwe hopes to deploy geospatial technology to manage its boundaries, calculate total mineral quantities, and help telecommunications companies improve their services.
BMA understands that the satellite was a 1U educational and amateur radio mission CubeSat manufactured under the Kyushu Institute of Technology.