Uganda’s Finance Minister, Matia Kasija early this week announced that the country is set to launch its first satellite , PearlAfricaSat-1 into low Earth in September 2022 in collaboration with NASA.A project that begin early in 2020.
The settelite will be stationed at the Mpoma facility where Uganda already has two antennas associated with Intelsat’s Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean Satellites. The station which will serve as as the operations and communications center for satellites launched by the government and universities.
In a statement, he said, ” “In September this year, Uganda will launch into the Lower Earth Orbit its first-ever satellite from the International Space Station in collaboration with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),”
The Ugandan government has allocated 274.4 billion towards advancing innovation and technological development and another $200,000 to improve Infrastructe at Mpoma station and another $ 2 million for technology, research and development.
Besides, the country has also signed an agreement with the Kyushu Institute of Technlogy(Kyutech) Japan to enroll and uspskill three graduate engineers to design, build, test and launch the satellite in Uganda. Eralier on while commissioning the project, Uganda sent three graduate students to obtain training in satellite design, manufacture, and testing as part of a global programme initiated by KyuTech.
Ahead of its launch, PearlAfricaSat-1 will provide research and observation data in six primary areas that include weather forecast, land,water and mineral mapping, agriculture monitoring, infrastructure panning, border security and disiater prevention.
The core missions for PearlAfricaSat-1 according to an article by Africanews.space says, they are a multispectral camera payload that will provide about 20-metre resolution images for Uganda to facilitate water quality, soil fertility, and land use and cover analysis. The satellite will play a vital role in the oil and gas operation by monitoring the East African crude oil pipeline.
The data will enable accurate weather forecasts by gathering remote sensor data for predicting landslides and drought. Once the satellite reaches orbit,Uganda’s ground station will monitor its health status for a few days before it starts executing its mission.