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Astronaut Paolo flies to Uganda for technology awards

By Conan Businge, Sarah Kisakye

Added 10th April 2018 06:25 PM

Nespoli has an illustrious career spanning stints at the European Astronaut Centre and NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, before being selected astronaut by the Italian Space Agency to fly as an ESA astronaut.

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Nespoli has an illustrious career spanning stints at the European Astronaut Centre and NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, before being selected astronaut by the Italian Space Agency to fly as an ESA astronaut.

PIC: Astronaut Paolo Nespoli will head a a jury at the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards. (AFP)

TECHNOLOGY


KAMPALA - Uganda will this week host a man who has been in the space on three occasions – Astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

He will be in the country to head a jury at the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, which is the seventh edition of the competitions. The grand finale, for the first time, will be held in Uganda.

The event will be held on Thursday.

Nespoli has an illustrious career spanning stints at the European Astronaut Centre and NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, before being selected astronaut by the Italian Space Agency to fly as an ESA astronaut.

In 2017, for his third mission in space named Vita, Nespoli spent 139 days on the ISS during which he completed more than 60 experiments.

Before that, he crewed on the 2007 Discovery shuttle mission and spent over five months in space in 2011 aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where he was responsible for a range of science and technology experiments and educational activities.
 
Government dignitaries, the academic community, scientific world and students will attend the event by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat.

Nespoli will be assisted by a panel of industry experts namely; Prof. Funso Falade the dean for the faculty of engineering at the University of Lagos; Michael Niyitegeka the country manager for ICDL Africa, Patrice Paquot the deputy regional vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat as well as Patricia Kichoncho, the operations manager for MultiChoice Uganda.

Uganda leads in tech awards
Uganda has produced the most winners since the competition’s inception and is hoping to achieve a similar feat by dominating the competition on home ground. 

Five Ugandan students from Gayaza High, King’s College Budo, Greenhill Academy and Bishop Cipriano Kihangire SS Biina have in the past scooped the continental awards in this technology competition, which is open to all schools.

MultiChoice and Eutelsat have once again chosen to collaborate with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli to lead the continental awards judging, which will take place in Kampala.

The topic of the competition this year is, “It is sixty years since the first satellite, Sputnik, was launched, broadcasting a unique and easily captured ‘beep, beep, beep’ signal.” It is based on this theme that students are expected to write an essay or draw illustration to explain what they make of it.

The Overall Essay Award winning student will travel with his or her parents or guardian to Eutelsat in France and attend a live rocket launch in French Guiana.

More so, the overall Poster Award winning student will also have a chance to travel with the parents to the MultiChoice offices and the South African Space Agency at Hartbeesthoek.

The schools attended by the overall award winners will be rewarded with a DStv installation, including dish, television, state-of-the-art PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Package.

Uganda did not win it in 2016 and 2017. Can we win it again this year? Time will tell.



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