Earlier this week, Matia Kasaija, the Minister of finance, planning and economic development in Uganda, announced that the country will be launching its first satellite in September 2022.
The PearlAfricaSat-1 is the latest mission from the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project.
The Minister indicated that the launch will be in partnership with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Located at the Mpoma facility, where Uganda already has two antennas, the station will serve as the operations and communications centre for satellites launched by the government as well as universities.
The two antennas are linked with Intelsat’s Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean satellites.
The country has invested significant resources to develop the technology. Uganda committed over US$2 million for research, technology and development, including another US$200 000 for infrastructure development at Mpoma.
According to the Minister, Uganda signed a collaborative research agreement with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech), Japan.
As part of the agreement, the Institution will enrol and upskill three graduate engineers to design, build, test and launch the first satellite for Uganda.
The Minister highlighted that the data from the satellite will be used for environmental monitoring, meteorology, urban planning, disaster management and mineral exploration, among others.
The core missions for PearlAfricaSat-1 are a multispectral camera payload. The Multispectral Camera mission will provide 20-metre resolution images for Uganda to facilitate water quality, soil fertility, and land use and cover analysis.
In addition, the satellite will play a significant role in the oil and gas operation by monitoring the East African crude oil pipeline. Once in orbit, an Uganda ground station will monitor its health status before it starts executing its mission.