By Donald Kiirya
Uganda will soon launch the first space observer called Cadimella, Capt. Chris Nsamba, the chief executive officer and founder of the African Space Research Program (ASRP), has revealed.
Nsamba was briefing the Vice-President, Edward Ssekandi, who inspected the launch pad of the space observer at Kimaka Airfield in Jinja on Monday.
“This has demonstrated that Ugandans can also participate in sophisticated programmes. This is impressive and the Government will support the association. I am going to brief the President about this,” Ssekandi said.
Nsamba and his eight-man team demonstrated to Ssekandi how the space probe works while in transit in the orbit.
The team also hid the space probe and demonstrated to the Vice-President how it can be tracked using satellite in case it lands in another country.
Nsamba revealed that the space probe has self-defence, anti-time missile features, which protect it from being hit by missiles destined to destroy it in case it passes in the space of another country.
After its launch, they will put a mouse in it and will have it lifted to the stratosphere by a helium balloon.
Vice President Edward Ssekandi poses for a photo with part of the team that built Cadimella. PHOTO/Donald Kiirya
The space probe is fitted with cameras with a wide angle fish-eye lens to be used in taking pictures of Uganda from space and other features on the planet. The others are a thermometer and Global Positioning System trackers.
“We shall send a mouse to space. If it comes back alive, it will mean that Uganda is able to send human beings into space and we shall embark on constructing a new space observer that a person can use,” Nsamba said.
“As the space probe orbits the planet, it will pick dust molecules for our laboratory research,” he noted.
His team had already launched a prototype test and was able to take some pictures while in space.
Cadimella will orbit the space twice and come back with samples. In case it lands on water, they can command back to the surface.
ASRP has a core representation in Dallas, US which handles all international matters outside Africa.
The space probe will be used to scan meteoroids and asteroids closest to earth’s orbit.
However, the like any other project, Uganda's space ambition will come with some challenges.
Nsamba said they faced some challenges like building the mother board and problems with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which had prevented them from flying it due to space laws.