The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Dr Monica Musenero, has announced that Uganda’s only satellite which excited Ugandans -the PearlAfricaSat-1, has de-orbited (been removed from space ) after reaching 13-month lifespan.
The satellite which was developed by three Ugandan engineers : Bonny Omara, Derrick Tebusweke, and Edgar Mujuni, who received specialized training at Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech).
after 13 month in orbit , Pearlafricastat-1 was exited after it encountered difficulties in its communication functions, internet and television services.
“The satellite could not do communication, satellite TV and internet. It only took pictures which we could use for geographical maps,” Dr Musenero said adding that after successful launch of a Ugandan satellite into orbit , government is now planning to develop more satellites in the “near future.”
Uganda’s STI Minister Dr. Musenero
The government intends to spend a total of Shs104.5 billion to develop, launch, and operationalise two satellites, according to a draft budget for the national Innovation, Technology Development and Transfer Programme Implementation Action Plan for 2020 to 2025.
The East African Community members states recently resolved to establish a joint communications satellite that will provide high-quality and dependable broadband Internet services and broadcasting capabilities.
The resolutions were contained in a joint communique that was issued after a four-day Ministerial Meeting for the ICT Infrastructure Development, which was held in Nairobi, Kenya last month .
PearlAfricasat-1, was deployed into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) in November 2022. At the time , Dr. Musenero said PearlAfricaSat-1 was designed to provide research and observation data that will provide solutions in weather forecast, land, water bodies, mineral mapping and agriculture monitoring. Others are disaster prevention, infrastructure planning and boarder security.
The PearlAfrica Sat-1 was launched by US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island in Virginia.
Uganda’s space program now supervised under the Science Technology and Innovation (STI )Secretariat -began in 2020 under the Joint Global Multi-Nation BIRDS Satellite project, a cross-border interdisciplinary Satellite project for non-space faring countries initiated by Kyusu Institute of Technology in Japan.
The program is aimed at providing hands-on training to selected students in Satellite designing, manufacturing and testing. Three Ugandan students successfully graduated from the program and embarked on the task of developing a Satellite that will be launched into orbit .
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