The All Nations University College in Koforidua will soon launch its first space satellite, called CANSAT, built by the Intelligent Space System Laboratory of the university.
Dr Samuel Donkor, President of the university, announced this at a two-day workshop on space science technology, organised by the University in Koforidua to sensitise prospective students who wish to pursue a programme in Space Science and Satellite Technology.
He said the University College introduced the Space Science and Satellite Technology programme last year and less than one year the department had been able to built the first space satellite yet to be launched.
Dr Donkor gave the assurance that the university would strive to maintain leadership in higher education by the introduction of courses that are demand driven. Dr Ashievi Kofi, Director of Space Science Ghana, who was a resource person, stressed on the importance of science and technical education.
He said the programme would help to minimize dependence on importation of human resources on space and satellite technology.
Dr Ashievi said space science technology had contributed significantly to the economic development of some developed countries and urged the government to make financial commitment to it because its benefits are enormous.
He said since education was considered the key to effective development strategies, science and technical education must be the master key that could alleviate poverty, promote peace, conserve the environment, improve the quality of life and help achieve sustainable development.
Dr Ashievi said science and technology were perceived globally as major tolls for rapid social and economic development and Ghana could not run away from it.
He said the industrialized countries of the world applied science and technology to develop their economics and mentioned China, South Korea, India, Malaysia and Singapore as notable examples.
Dr Ashievi said some few countries followed their footsteps and had also successfully applied science and technology to transform their economies.
Mr Mamfred Quarshie, Director of Intelligent Space System Laboratory of the All Nations University, said the lab was set up as an educational project that enables the integration and collaboration among engineering and science careers, as well as encouraging team work.
He said the first step in the establishment of educational projects was the CANSAT program which is a small “satellite”, with all components, such as sensors, actuators, and GPS, housed inside a 350-ml can.
Mr Quarshie said CANSAT provides an affordable opportunity for educators and students to acquire basic knowledge of space engineering and to experience engineering challenges in building a satellite and it is launched by a rocket or balloon and released in the air.
He explained that the CANSAT project is aimed at giving students practical training in the development of an educational satellite and are able to conceptualize the mission, plan and design as well as build and test their products on the ground, charge and improve their CANSAT prototypes.
Mr Quarshie said their activities had enabled them to establish international collaboration networks of contacts in the international space education and participated in international competitions.
He said the lab was working hard to establish a Satellite Ground Station for research purposes that would enhance both institutional and industrial activities in the sub-region and also to design, build and Launch a 3 Kg CubeSat into orbit by 2016.
Mr Quarshie commended the Space Science Centre Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and other international organizations for their support.
The Omanhene of New Juaben Traditional Area, Professor Oti Boateng, said it was clear that the exploration of the outer space bring enormous benefits both to the developed and developing countries.
He was however worried about whether developing countries battling poverty, poor health care, maternal mortality, low efficient power generation, inefficient water supply and many more other developmental challenges would invest in space science.
According to Daasebre Oti Boateng developing countries such as Ghana stands a chance of benefiting from space science and satellite technology by way of building capacity in the area of agriculture, territorial monitoring, national security, health and environmental management.