Zimbabwe Is Hosting World Space Week Celebrations



In accordance with the United Nations calendar, space-faring nations recognize and celebrate the largest space event from the 4th to the 10th of October each year, known as World Space Week. Zimbabwe is no different, having successfully celebrated its first World Space Week in October of 2018.
The Zimbabwe World Space Week gives launch support to local space clubs as well as promoting the incorporation of satellite development training into tertiary level institutions. World Space Week Zimbabwe is currently coordinated by the National Coordinator, Mr. Timothy Kuhamba, working closely with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science & Technology, which is headed by Honourable Dr Amon Murwira.
WSW commenced in 1980 as a celebration of the first moon landing and has evolved into a global event that aims at celebrating advances in space capacity for the betterment of all mankind in line with the preamble of the Outer Space Treaty. In 1999, the UN General Assembly declared “World Space Week” a global event to be held every year from the 4th to 10th October every year. Each year the WSW Accossiation Board of Directors selects a theme that highlights a pertinent aspect of space with a broad appeal to humanity.
The theme for 2019 is The Moon: Gateway to the Stars. In light of this, the Ministry is partnering with the rest of the globe in celebrating the milestone achievements by space-faring nations and Zimbabwe in particular, which has taken bold steps in enhancing the nation’s capacity in developing and utilizing space technologies. The Ministry has therefore commissioned the organization of a public lecture/presentation to celebrate this important week on the space calendar.
Last year the celebrations consisted of a number of space-related seminars in tandem with a Space Quiz sponsored by DSTV for high school learners. Plenary discussions also conducted during the Week gave rise to a number of conceptual frameworks to enlarge Zimbabwe’s satellite footprint, namely the intention to launch a Mission idea contest which will require the presentation of ideas on the most feasible payload for Zimbabwe’s first satellite. Inclusiveness in building space capacity in Zimbabwe is also at the core of the recent Innovation Hubs that have been established by the Minister of Higher Education, Science & Technology at 7 institutions of higher learning.
WSW holds particular significance for Zimbabwe as an emerging space nation, having recently established the Zimbabwe National and Geospatial Space Agency (ZINGSA) in July of 2018. ZINGSA intends to focus on using satellites to advance geospatial science, earth observation and satellite communication systems. Zimbabwe has been lagging behind regional countries and the world at large in terms of technological development. Although the country is predicated on mining and agriculture, a lot is still to be done in terms of mapping and mineral exploration. Another core focus of the space agency will be using satellites to further renewable energy mapping for the country. The space agency is also expected to contribute to the counting of wildlife population as the country looks for ways of protecting wildlife, a critical component of the tourism industry.
This year’s celebrations have been slightly delayed and dated for the 28th of October as decided by the Organizing Committee. The event is to take place at the University of Zimbabwe and aims at creating awareness of the opportunities to be found in developing space technologies and the broader space sciences. Questions have been raised on the feasibility of space applications for a country such as Zimbabwe that is already burdened by larger socio-economic turmoil, but it is believed that these same space technologies will be the magic bullet to Zimbabwe’s challenges by filling the technological gap and ushering the country into the 4th Industrial Revolution. The following programes have been tabled for the event:
Space Quiz
This year’s quiz will focus on the benefits to be realized when space technologies are used sustainably in Zimbabwe, which theme follows ZINGSA’s commitment to raising awareness on satellite technology. Eight schools consisting of 3 students per team will participate in the competition which is slated to be broadcast on the national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
Public Awareness Articles on WSW and ZINGSA
Significant media exposure is required in order to make the event a success, and various media campaigns via television, radio, and newspapers will be supplemented by the publishing of academic materials.
Development of HEPSAT
What is the most pertinent development for WSW Zimbabwe will be the presentation by the National Coordinator of his experience at the 10th CanSat Leadership training held in Tokyo, Japan from the 16th to the 30th of August 2019, which provided an opportunity to engineers to learn and cultivate space engineering techniques using HEPSAT. This is a model satellite used for training spacecraft systems utilization in a short space of time. The National Coordinator is expected to discuss the complete cycle of small satellite (HEPTA-Sat) development from design and implementation to launch. Students will learn the basic subsystems of satellites including structure, electrical power supply, command and data handling, communication, ground station, and sensors as well as learn how to integrate those subsystems to create a working satellite.
Main Space Week Commemorations Day Presentation
The main event will be conducted by the Honourable Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, who will give a keynote address, followed by the presentation of papers by experts invited to the event. The event is expected to proceed as follows:
Presentation by the Director-General of Portraz who was part sponsor for the training received by the National Coordinator
Presentation of the overview of space technologies
Presentation on ZINGSA projects
Presentation on the conceptual document for the development, launch, and operation of small satellites (Cube satellites) for Zimbabwean universities
Launch of space clubs within tertiary institutions
Launch of the Mission Idea Contest (which is expected to run for 3 months)
The event is expected to attract over 500 participants, 200 of which will be schoolchildren, 180 from institutions of higher learning and a further 120 for invited guests and the remaining allotment for interested participants from the public. The plenary discussions will be supported by an information desk, career guidance talks, exhibit

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Publish date : 2019-10-28 12:34:28

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