Uganda became the 13th African country to launch a satellite on November 7. After a one-day delay due to a fire alarm, PearlAfricaSat-1 was successfully launched from the center it built for NASA on Wallops Island, Virginia, USA.
When the satellite arrives at the International Space Station, it will be controlled from the space center located in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
It is expected that the new satellite will allow the country to collect meteorological data, and it will also contribute to improving its performance in terms of agricultural monitoring and border control. But the priority goal of launching the satellite is completely different for Uganda, as it is above all related to conducting experiments in which astronauts are exposed to microgravity conditions.
According to the Ugandan Nile Post, this low-gravity state is the ideal state to make progress in 3D printing of human skin layers and then intensive work will be done to determine how microgravity affects ovarian function, to name a few.
If 3D skin printing is a major problem for Uganda, it is primarily because thousands of patients die there every year from malfunctioning organs. But this experiment can not be conducted on the surface of the Earth in any way, because of the very high gravity there. Other countries have embarked on similar projects, as was the case for Russia in 2018.
The Nile Post indicated that this project is the result of Uganda’s cooperation with many countries, including Japan and Zimbabwe, and is a joint work of three Ugandan engineers, Edgar Mugoni, Bonnie Omara and Derek Tebuswick, all of whom completed their professional training at the Japan Institute of Technology in Kyushu.
The black continent continues its efforts to conquer space, but its technological innovations are rarely highlighted. 125 new satellites will be developed on this continent by 2025, in 23 different countries.
It is expected that the profits of Space in Africa, based in the Nigerian city of Lagos, will reach more than 10 billion dollars (about 10 billion euros) by 2024, which will increase its weight in the field of space globally.
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