Uganda’s PearlAfricaSat-1, part of the BIRDS-5 constellation, was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) and subsequently released into space from the Japanese Kibo module in November 2022. To communicate with and process data from the satellite currently orbiting the Earth, the country has constructed an Earth station in Mpoma and is almost ready to launch. This information was disclosed by Dr Musenero, the Ugandan Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, during an interview with NTV, Uganda.
During the interview, Dr Musenero gave an update on the satellite, commenting on why Uganda is yet to receive data from the satellite. According to her, there were some delays in building an Earth station after the deployment of the satellite, but she noted that it is nearing completion. In addition, the Minister disclosed that the Earth station was initially meant to be completed before the launch, but that did not happen as the satellite launch date was out of their control. To this end, the Minister confirmed that Earth station is scheduled for full operation from February 2023.
The PearlAfricaSat-1 is meant to help in weather and disaster prediction, thus aiding the country in planning for climate-related incidents. When asked about the capacity of the ministry to build the required human capital to process data from the satellite via the Earth station, Dr Musenero responded that the ministry is building it through engaging innovators and has assigned a budget to implement it. Moreover, there has been a development of a close linkage with innovators through the creation of think tanks and facilities for patent registration to encourage innovation.
To access the full interview, click here.