Ugandan scientists complete developing country’s first Satellite, ready for launch into space

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Ugandan scientists successfully complete development of the country's first satellite; Courtesy Photo

Ugandan scientists will today handover the country’s first Satellite as part of the final preparations to launch it into space -the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has announced.

The satellite named PearlAfricaSat-1 was developed by three Ugandan scientists under a multinational program known as BIRDS-5 project between Uganda and Japan, implemented in collaboration with Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech).

“PearlAfricaSat-1 is a IU (10cm by 10cm by 10cm) cube Satellite that will handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) today (10th May 20222) at a function that will be held at Kyutech. Thereafter, it will be transported to JAXA for final tests, and then handed over to NASA on 18th May 2022 for transportation to the International Space Station from where it will be launched into the Low Earth Orbit tentatively by August 2022.” the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation stated.

The PearlAfrica Sat-1 has been specifically designed to provide research and observation data that will provide solutions in weather forecast, agriculture monitoring, disaster prevention, infrastructure planning, border security, land & waterbodies and mineral mapping.

Uganda’s path to send a satellite into space began in April 2020 by sending three graduate students; Edgar Mujuni, Derick Tebusweke, and Eng. Bonny Omara, to obtain training in satellite design, manufacture and testing as part of a multinational program between Uganda and Japan.

According to the statement, a group of Ugandans (with the help of students) will then be tasked to install Ground Sensor Terminals (GSTs) to facilitate communication to the Satellite.

Speaking about this achievement, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Dr. Monica Musenero said today is a remarkable day in the country’s history as Ugandans celebrate the completion of Uganda’s first Satellite. Dr Musenero also thanked President Museveni for the visionary leadership and for the support towards the development of PearlAfricaSat-1.

Dr Musenero said the development of PearlAfricaSat-1 presents an opportunity to development of subsequent Satellites locally in Uganda, meaning that local engineers and scientists will be providing practical solutions to several challenges facing the citizens.

In addition to the information that will be received from PeralAfricaSat-1, Uganda has been given an opportunity to utilize services of other satellites operated under BIRDS project -according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Satellite development program between Uganda and Japan has four objectives; to launch Uganda’s first Satellite, to offer Ugandan scientists with specialized training on Satellite training, to establish Uganda’s Satellite communications network, and to establish a laboratory in Uganda to facilitate knowledge transfer.

In addition to participating in developing satellites, the students will obtain a Master’s Degree in Space Systems Engineering to be completed in October 2022.

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