Uganda to Develop Second Satellite for Space Program
The Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat in the Office of the President of Uganda has announced that it is working on developing a more sophisticated second satellite. The country’s first satellite, PearlAfricaSat-1, was a student-developed satellite with limited capacity, according to Dr Cosmas Mwikirize, the superintendent for industrial value chain development at the secretariat. It had a short lifespan of around 12 months and did not meet the expectations set by the secretariat when it was launched in November 2022.
The upcoming second satellite is being built in Uganda through a collaboration with partners from Egypt. The goal is to improve capacity and obtain more information. Dr Monica Musenero, the minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, stated that the second satellite should provide communication capacity similar to digital satellite television.
The cost of developing the first satellite has not been disclosed, but estimates for satellite development range from $500,000 to $400 million, depending on size and functionality. The government has already spent at least Shs7 billion ($1.8 million) on the program, and the total budget for developing, launching, and operationalizing two satellites is Shs104.5 billion ($27 million).
While the space program has faced criticism for its allocation of resources, Dr Musenero defended the initiative, emphasizing its potential to benefit other sectors of the economy. However, some legislators argue that the country should prioritize pressing issues, such as infrastructure development and waste management, before investing in space ventures.
The first satellite, PearlAfricaSat-1, was a 1U cube satellite with limited imaging capabilities. However, the second satellite aims to improve on this and provide higher resolution images. The Mpoma satellite station, established in 1978, has been undergoing renovations to enhance its capacity.
The development of the second satellite marks an important step for Uganda’s space program, as the country seeks to expand its capabilities in space technology and satellite communication. Collaboration with international partners and the training of local talent are key components of this endeavor.
– The source article
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