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Scientists are counting down the days till Uganda launches its first satellite

Uganda has made a significant contribution to the space technology race by launching the very first satellite, named PearlAfricaSat-1, into orbit, with a launch date of August 2022. The PearlAfricaSat -1 is the most recent mission from Joint Global Multi-National Birds Satellite initiative, an international effort to assist countries with developing their satellite.

This program has benefited countries from all over the world, including Asia, Africa, and South America. President Museveni directed the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation to establish a National Space Agency and Institute, and the project to create Uganda’s very first satellite started in October 2019.

The Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan inked a joint research agreement to register and enhance 3 graduate engineers to design, manufacture, test, and deploy Uganda’s very first satellite. As a result, Japan successfully enrolled 3 Ugandan graduate engineers, Edgar Mujunu, Bonny Omara, and Derrick Tebuseke, to work on a two-and-a-half-year project.

This occurred against a backdrop of a significant $2 million investment in science, technology, and research. Uganda’s earliest efforts to acquire the Mpoma satellite earth station situated in Mukono district, that was planned and built by the Japanese Nippon Electric business in 1978, were aided by Japan, a first-world nation with a long record in space technology.

Uganda is sending the very first earth observation spacecraft into the orbit, according to Bonny Omara, who works as a space scientist stationed in Japan. This implies the country will eliminate its reliance on foreign nations for satellite data, which has cost the country a lot of money while jeopardizing the country’s security and privacy. As per Omara, PearlAfricaSat-1’s key missions include a multispectral camera payload, that is the first of its kind among all satellites deployed by African nations.

The Multispectral Camera mission that is going to deliver images with a minimum resolution of 20 meters to aid in the research of soil fertility, water quality, and land use as well as cover throughout the country.  The satellite is projected to play a vital role in the gas and oil industry by closely tracking the East African crude oil pipeline and gathering distant sensor data to predict the occurrence of drought, landslides, and pest and disease infestations.

A flight model, which is the real satellite that will be sent into space, is currently being developed. In March 2022, the spacecraft will be subjected to space environment testing to guarantee that it can withstand the severe conditions of orbit. By August 2022, the satellite will be flown to the ISS (International Space Station) and deployed into the low earth orbit (LEO) at a 400-kilometer altitude to begin its trip. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will organize the launch.

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