Uganda’s highly anticipated satellite launch postponed

The launch of Uganda’s first satellite ”PearlAfricaSat-1” carried on a spacecraft, the Northrop Grumman (NG-18 Cygnus), has been postponed to Monday due to reports of a fire in the control room building.

America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) revealed on Sunday afternoon that, “Today’s planned CRS18 launch has been scrubbed due to a fire alarm at the mission operations control center in Dulles, Virginia. Liftoff of the Cygnus spacecraft is now set for Nov. 7 at 5:27am ET (10:27 UTC). We’ll go live at 5am.”

NASA added, “The Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket remain healthy at the Wallops launch site. The next launch attempt will be Monday, Nov. 7, in a five-minute window that opens at 5:27 a.m. EST. Weather for that window is currently forecast as 75% favorable: High pressure looks to continue to provide tranquil weather to the Mid-Atlantic before breezy conditions impact the Wallops area Tuesday.”

Science, technology and innovation minister Dr Monica Musenero also confirmed the development sunday, November 6, 2022.

“As they were preparing, a fire alarm went off and that is not a signal that they can allow (launch) to continue. So, NASA called off the launch and they will try tomorrow again,” she said.

The satelite was developed by Ugandans Edgar Mujuni, Bonny Omara, and Derrick Tebusweke.

Once the launch is completed, the satellite project will provide research and observations for high-resolution image data to support weather forecasting, land, water, and mineral mapping, agriculture monitoring and infrastructural planning, border security and early warning information for disaster preparedness.

“With our own data, analysis, and prediction of weather, water quality, soil fertility, landslides and drought will be more efficient. The satellite will also play a vital role in planning and resource management and environment impact assessment in the oil and gas industry,” she said.

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