Cape Town — Uganda, in partnership with NASA, has launched its first satelleite, the PearlAfricaSat-1, into the international space station, The EastAfrican reports. The landmark project will see the satellite operated from a ground station in Uganda where all its data will be examined. The project was a joint venture between Ugandan and Japanese engineers working under the Joint Birds Satellite project, a multinational satellite design programme.
The Ministry of Science and Technology said the PearlAfricaSat-1 will provide data for research and observation along with information including but not limited to weather forecasts, mineral mapping and agricultural monitoring.
“As a country, the development of PearlAfricaSat-1 presents opportunities for the development of subsequent satellites locally in Uganda, meaning our engineers and scientists will be providing practical solutions to the challenges facing the Ugandan citizens as well as boosting the country’s internal capacity to develop the space science and technology industry value chain,” said Monica Musenero, the minister for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Musenero, added that the satellite may also provide critical climate change information like drought, an area Uganda has little accurate data on.
“The statistical data collected could help distinguish bare ground from forests and farmland and possibly indicate the quality of agricultural growth. This could help improve the livelihood of citizens of Ugandan”, Musenero said.
Launch of the satellite was initially slated for November 6 but was delayed by NASA after what they determined to be “a fire alarm at the mission operations control center in Dulles, Virginia”, CIO Africa writes.