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Ghana becomes 2nd African country to own a satellite dish

Aug. 25, 2017, 10:50 a.m.

All is set for Ghana to launch a satellite dish that would enable scientists from around the world to view and study the world space from within the country at Kuntunse, near Accra.

The launching of the first phase of the conversion of a telecom dish into a Satellite dish on Thursday, August 24, 2017 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would make Ghana the second country in Africa to own a satellite dish after South Africa.

After the launch, the second phase of the 32-meter antenna involving more engineering work would be carried out to help increase the sensitivity and speed of the dish from 0.09 degrees per second to 0.3 degree per seconds.

During a media briefing in Accra, officials from the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and the South African-based Square Kilometre Array Africa (SKA Africa), who collaborated to sponsor and build the dish told journalists that the facility would help put Ghana on a higher pedestal of countries that are into space science.

Director of the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI) of the GAEC, Professor Dickson Adomako, said the first phase of the dish to be launched involved the structural work of the antenna, electrical works and the total configuration of the antenna which used to be a redundant telecommunication dish belonging to Vodafone Ghana that used to only point at one direction.

He the dish which can move to all directions, pointing to a particular source that one want to target, was built by Ghanaian artisans who were trained by South African experts.

He said currently, there are some science commissioning going on at the Kuntunse site to be able to detect some of the celestial bodies to prove the effectiveness of the dish.

He said by the middle of 2019, the SKA Africa partners would totally hand over the dish to the Ghanaian community to manage.

Speaking on the benefits of the Satellite dish to Ghana, Prof. Adomako said many young Ghanaian scientists have been trained both in South Africa and in Ghana for their PhDs as well as in the UK where some Ghanaians are being trained as astronomists and astrophysics to help man the dish.

He said many electrical engineers, software engineers, and mechanical engineers, as well as certified welders, have been trained to become very useful in the society.

He said a lot of data on various entities could be gathered with the dish to help institutions and the country to plan better.

On the direct usefulness of the dish to citizens, Prof Adomako said: ‘this is purely science work but if you look into the heavens there are a lot of giant clouds that consist of gases and dust, planet and a whole lot of things. And then the universe is still expanding and so when we look at the stars or point at a planet we will be able to know about the composition, movement, and structure of the universe which scientists are more eager to learn and know about.

‘But to the layman, the benefits will be the spinoffs that we can get out of what we are doing. Also a lot of astronomers will be coming to Ghana which would enhance the network of what Ghanaian scientists are doing in that area.

‘Because it is a big data that we are going to work with and that will increase internet facility within that area, it will be a source of tourist’s attraction with many astronomers coming to Ghana and will serve as a form of income generation to the country.

‘Ghana is almost positioned at the center of the world and so with this Dish, you can see the northern hemisphere as well as the southern and so there are of opportunities for other astronomers to come and use the facility’.

He said in all nine partner African countries including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, and Madagascar, who are studying the success of Ghana’s satellite to enable them also launch and use theirs in their respective countries.

Prof said the internet connectivity within the Kuntunse area has improved so well while the roads within the vicinity has been constructed.

Source: GNA