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Ugandan engineers who built Uganda's first ever satellite

PROFILE: Ugandan Engineers Behind Uganda’s First-ever Satellite

by Max Pat
posted onNovember 9, 2022
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On 6th November 2022, Uganda made a historic milestone after launching its first-ever satellite codenamed the PearAfricaSat-1 into the air space.

The PearAfricaSat-1 was launched to the International Space Station from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia as witnessed by key Ugandan engineers who built the satellite, led by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Monica Musenero.

According to Musenero, the satellite will subsequently be deployed in low earth orbit in December this year.

The satellite was built by three Ugandan engineers with assistance from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. We bring you full profiles of these young Ugandan engineers who have put the Pearl of Africa on the global map.

Eng. Bonny Omara

Eng. Bonny Omara is 35 years of age and hails from the Otuke district that was curved out of Lira city. He went to Olilim Primary School and Adwari Senior Secondary School, which are both in Otuke district. For the advanced level, he went to Teso College Aloet in Soroti. Eng. Omara is one of three cohorts who developed the first satellite of Uganda named PearAfricaSat-1 and he has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering from Busitema University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Information System Management from Uganda Management Institute and currently specializing in Space Systems Engineering at Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech), Japan.

From the various satellite projects that he participated in at Kyushu Institute of Technology, he has gained extensive hands-on experience in satellite development, right from problem identification, to satellite design, testing, and disposal. With his vast skills and experiences, he will undoubtedly develop subsequent satellites in-house in Uganda while boosting the country’s internal capacity to develop the industrial value chain for space science and technology given the political will at hand.

Eng. Edgar Mujuni

Eng. Edgar Mujuni is a 30-year-old who hails from Mitooma district, originally greater Bushenyi He is currently undertaking a Master’s degree in Space Systems Engineering from Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. He holds a first Class Degree in Telecommunications Engineering from Kyambogo University where he developed the best individual project in his final year of an Automatic Stamping robot with digital counters.

Edgar did a CISCO Certified Network Associate course from Makerere University. He attended studied at Nyakihita primary school in Mitooma, and did his entire Secondary school education at Mbarara High School for 6 years where he was the best science Student. In the Development of Uganda’s first Satellite (PearlAficaSat-1) he has been responsible for a number of satellite subsystems that include:-

• Communication subsystem that entails all the satellite communication from the ground station to the satellite in Orbit. This involves a lot of testing because Communication is the backbone and failure to communicate with the satellite is not an option.

• APRS-DP Mission which aims to contribute to the amateur community by Digi-peating APRS messages across the world.

• Store & Forward mission, whereby the satellite will collect GST data from remote areas within our country, store this data onboard, & then downlink it to the main ground station for analysis. This data will be used for purposes of Landslide monitoring & analysis, and Solar illumination measurement, and Uganda’s Oil Pipeline monitoring.

• Antenna & Antenna deployment system. Communication with satellite is definitely wireless and the satellite must have sufficient gain to receive and transmit signals to and from the ground station. Also, these antennas must be safely deployed when the satellite is in orbit to establish communication with the ground stations back on earth.

• Development of the Ground Station Network and Operation software that we use to track the satellite, uplink commands, and downlink satellite telemetry.

• Mission Board 2 design and implementation of PearlAfricaSat-1 • Frequency Coordination of PearlAfricaSat-1

Eng. Derrick Tebusweke

Tebusweke is 29 years of age and studied at Makerere College School and has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Makerere University. He is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Space Systems Engineering from Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan. Tebusweke was in charge of the Electrical Power Subsystem, its safety review verification tests, Power budget development, Electrical Interface management with other subsystems, and deployment switches mechanism.

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