Interest in Space program keeps climbing on the African continent. For instance, have you heard of the teenage girls from Cape Town in South Africa working to launch a private satellite? Well, in May 2017, this private satellite would be launched. Sounds exciting? Yep!
Back to Dr. Julian Bennett whose recent work has gotten me even more excited. The CubeSat from Ghana by Dr. Bennett will be on board the next Falcon 9, scheduled to launch into space on April 9, 2017, to join the International Space Station. From there the CubeSat will be deployed on its mission.
The previous sentence is compressed a whole lot, however, I met up with Dr. Bennett of the ANU where I discovered he leads the team responsible for engineering the CubeSat, with amazing support from, Benjamin Bonsu, Ernest Matey, Joseph Quansah, and Aaron Yankey – all also of ANU.
Oh what’s all this CubeSat thing am excited about? Well a CubeSat is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research. It is usually no more than 1.33 kilograms per unit in mass and often built with commercial off-the-shelf components for their electronics and structure, so there you have it, now you know.
Meet the man behind all this – Julian Bennett – an aerospace engineer and lecturer at the ANU. The doctor’s (PhD) knowledge and experience in the field made him a great asset as its lead. He was also nice enough to share his insights and experiences with me for our audience at TheAfricanDream.net so we could bring it to you, yes you reading now from wherever in the world…
For those that will want to listen to this whole story via audio, please checkout Khophi’s Dev Radio March 19, 2017, edition for the detailed interview with Julian on the subject of the upcoming launch.
Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is where Julian acquired his degree in Electrical Engineering from. He then obtained a Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the Brunel University of London. Today he is lead for the Space Science Technology Laboratory project of the ANU where he has been working with talented and dedicated students over the past 2 years to make the upcoming launch mission a reality.
Julian Bennett and the CubeSat
The All Nations University from Ghana, joined hands with Nigeria, Bangladesh, Mongolia and Japan to make this endeavor a reality by coming together on the “BIRDS Project“.
The CubeSat is currently in the hands of the JAXA (Japan’s version of NASA), where much testing will be done before it is eventually handed over to NASA to be put on board the upcoming Falcon 9 launch and then into space.
To help bring some of the engineers on board, the ANU Space program teamed up to speed this space ambition. As a result the hardwroking and fortunate individuals of the team we trained through this collaboration.
Space-related stuff isn’t that simple and involves research, trials, testing, re-testing and dedication. The fact that many of these team members used to be students of the ANU, but decided to cling onto the project to see it eventually become a reality is such a remarkable thing in my opinion. Their dedication is a clear sign of how their love for Space has evolved so much that it is about to put Ghana on the world space map once again, and very soon too.
The All Nations University & Space
Over the years, the ANU team working on this project, comprising of students from literally ‘All’ nations, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on research and engineering into their space program.
This experiment caught the attention of both scientific bodies and media houses alike. The experience at the time was indeed a motivating factor both for students and lecturers involved in the space program at ANU, encouraging them to keep pushing.
And push they did! As a result, all things being equal, come April 9, 2017, if nothing happens to abort mission just 13 seconds into launch as was SpaceX’s second launch attempt from one of NASA’s launch pads in February 2017, then Dr. Julian Bennett, his crew from ANU and all their other partners will successfully launch a piece of Ghana into orbit.
As someone who witnessed the recent Falcon 9 launch, I can’t wait to hear about the success of the CubeSat.
In other Ghana space related issues, the Ghanaian authorities will by 2020 launch their very first satellite called “Ghanasat 1” into orbit. The project is managed by the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).
Editor’s note: #TheAfricanDreamLLC is excited about this story by Rexford Nkansah, a Senior Web Developer and host of Khophi’s Dev Radio. Rexford is also our head tech reporter at TheAfricanDream.net. Don’t forget to listen to his chat with Dr. Julian Bennett for the exciting audio version of this story.
Source: written by Rexford Nkansah and edited by Oral Ofori