Uganda has finished the development of its first satellite, bringing the country’s space and technological ambitions closer to reality. In April 2020, Uganda began the process of launching its first satellite into space by sending three graduate students to the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan for training in satellite design, construction, and testing as part of a global program launched in 2015. The three students, Edgar Mujuni, Derick Tebusweke, and Bonny Omara, have completed their work on the PearlAfricaSat-1 satellite, which they have now handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for final testing on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.
Dr. Monica Musenero, Uganda’s Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, stated that JAXA would test Uganda’s first satellite in the next five to eight days before handing it over to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America for transportation to the international space station. The satellite will then be launched from the ISS into low earth orbit in August of this year. “These students finished the development of this satellite, and this morning we remotely participated in an event at the prime minister’s office where the government of Uganda, represented by the country’s ambassador in Japan, handed over this satellite to the Japan Space Agency for final testing, which will take about five days, and then it will be ready for launch by NASA in August,” Musenero said.
PearlAfricaSat-1 was created by engineers to give study and observation data in six major areas. Weather forecasting, land, water, and mineral mapping, agriculture monitoring, infrastructure planning, border security, and disaster avoidance are some of these topics.
A multispectral camera payload is one of PearlAfricaSat-1’s main missions. The Multispectral Camera mission will provide Uganda with photos with a resolution of around 20 meters to aid in the examination of water quality, soil fertility, and land use and cover. The satellite will monitor the East African crude oil pipeline, which is critical to the oil and gas industry. By obtaining distant sensor data for anticipating landslides and drought, precise weather forecasts will be possible. A Ugandan ground station will check the satellite’s health for a few days after it reaches orbit before it begins its mission.
Uganda’s Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation declared in 2019 that the country had set aside a budget for satellite development capacity development, with the country aiming to launch its first satellite by 2022. Uganda also intends to build a second satellite in the country while also training future Ugandan engineers. Uganda plans to launch its second satellite by the end of 2024.