Ghana students launch mini-satellite

KOFORIDUA, Ghana (AP) — Their project might not sound like much: The college students here today launched a tiny model of a satellite the size of a Coke can on a big yellow balloon. It went aloft to a height of 165 meters (yards) and then came back down attached to a red parachute.

Yet in this developing West African country, ambitious organizers, who recently launched the Ghana Space Science and Technology Center, see the test as a sign of bigger things to come.

"We hope that this practical demonstration of what can be done by students like them will generate more enthusiasm, fire up their imagination to come up with more creative things, and show that it's possible that they'll one day be able to launch their own real satellite into orbit," said Prosper Kofi Ashilevi, director of the space center that marked its one-year anniversary earlier this month.

The effort has drawn some skepticism, acknowledged Samuel H. Donkor, the president of All Nations University.

"They think it is a pipe dream, a waste of money," said Donkor, who has directed $50,000 to the program.

But Ashilevi, the space center director, said it was essential for local universities to train students with a passion for space.

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