Uganda to earn from Satellite Business

Uganda’s satellite was successfully deployed into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) last week Friday, 2 December 2022. The Pearl Africa Sat1 was developed by three Uganda engineers in Japan, with technical assistance from Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology.

Uganda’s debut satellite was projected into space by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 7th November, 2022 and it will help the country monitor weather and disasters, explore mineral wealth, surveil borders and generate other crucial data.

Speaking on the sidelines of the deployment event, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Monicah Musenero said the satellite ground station at Mpoma, Mukono district was now able to communicate, command and control Pearl Africa Sat1. “This satellite will be orbiting in space the minimum amount of time it will stay there is 18 months but if maintained very well it will stay up to five years ,” she remarked.

The minister also responded to critics who say the satellite program is a vanity project for a country grappling with debt, poor health and transport infrastructure. “Having a satellite is a business, it provides government support but also generates revenue for the country,” she said.

Musenero furthermore revealed that Uganda is to launch into space another satellite in eighteen months as the country gears toward a full fledged space program. According to the minister, the second satellite will be more advanced and will have communication, internet capabilities among other things.

Cosmas Mwikirize the superintendent of industrial value chains development at the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat said Uganda will be able to make money from satellite products within the next six months.

“We have started receiving data that is captured by the satellite, we are going to first do quality checks on the data we are getting and optimise the process of capturing this data, because you have to make the satellite pass over an area depending on the data you intend to capture,” Mwikirize said.

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