Uganda’s first satellite has been transmitted into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) and the East African nation’s ground controllers have been in communication with the device, the government announced on Friday.
NASA rocketed the spacecraft to ISS on Nov. 7 and placed the PearlAfricaSat-1 spacecraft and the ZimSat-1 satellite on board for Ugandan scientists. The satellites will assist Uganda in satellite mapping, observing weather conditions, mapping its mineral resources, and generating other vital information.
“Today, Friday Dec 2, 2022 at 1045 EAT Uganda’s first satellite PearlAfricaSat-1 was deployed into orbit from the International Space Station,” Monica Musenero Musanza, minister for science, technology and innovation said in a statement.
She said that the Uganda ground station, located in Mukono, was about 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of Kampala. The team there had been in communication with our satellite.
The satellite was developed by a group of three Uganda engineers in Japan, with technical assistance provided by Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan.
President Yoweri Museveni, in a statement, said that he wants to increase the country’s technological capacity in order to face challenges in agriculture, security and natural resource management.
Critics say that this satellite programme is a vanity project for a still vulnerable nation that has been dealing with problems like poverty, transport and healthcare infrastructure.