Uganda Pearl AfricaSat-1 has launched into space on Monday 7 November 2022 at 5:27 am East African time, according to America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The much-awaited launch of the Ugandan Satellite, was initially slated for Sunday 6 November, but NASA postponed it to Monday 7 November, 2022 due to what they termed as; “a fire alarm at the mission operations control center in Dulles, Virginia”
“Today’s (Sunday) planned CRS18 launch has been scrubbed due to a fire alarm at the mission operations control center in Dulles, Virginia. Liftoff of the Cygnus spacecraft is now set for Nov. 7 at 5:27 am EST (10:27 UTC). We’ll go live at 5 am,” NASA statement reads in part.
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Uganda is among several African, Asian, and South American countries benefiting from the Birds Satellite project initiated in 2015 by the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. The Uganda team comprising engineers Edgar Mujuni, Bonny Omara, and Derrick Tebusweke are back home and will watch the NASA launch on Television and the internet.
“The Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket remain healthy at the Wallops launch site. The next launch attempt will be Monday, Nov. 7, in a five-minute window that opens at 5:27 a.m. EST. Weather for that window is currently forecast as 75 percent favorable: High pressure looks to continue to provide tranquil weather to the Mid-Atlantic before breezy conditions impact the Wallops area Tuesday,” further adds the NASA statement.
The development of the satellite is part of the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite Project that began in October 2019 after President Museveni directed the development of a National Space Agency and Institute.
This followed Uganda’s agreement with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan and involved upskilling the three graduate engineers to design, build, test, and launch Uganda’s first satellite.
Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation, earlier told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre, that the satellite which has been under construction was handed to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a U.S. Government Agency to conduct its launch into space after undergoing all required tests.
Dr. Musenero said the Pearl AfricaSat-1 will help provide research and observation data in six primary areas; including weather forecast; land, water, and mineral mapping; agriculture monitoring; infrastructure planning; border security, and disaster prevention.
In addition, she said Pearl AfricaSat-1 is the first satellite developed by Ugandans to address climate change challenges, such as drought which has taken Uganda by surprise since they lack accurate data.
“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”, added, Dr. Musenero.