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Space Age Archaeology

Uganda in space

29 Aug 2011, 07:53 UTC
Uganda in space
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My erudite archaeoastronomical colleague Alun Salt sent me this article on a bunch of space enthusiasts in Uganda who are building a space shuttle in their backyard: African space research: Dreaming of a manned shuttleThere's lots to love about this: the general craziness of Uganda (some young thing on the television the other day had never heard of Idi Amin), the sheer guts and determination of the volunteers and their leader Chris Nsamba, the openly nationalist agenda, the jackfruit tree in the backyard, and the almost-tenderness of the journalist, Anne Cavell, towards these dreamers.I've long been interested in Africa's role in space. Nigeria, for example, had one of the very earliest generations of USA tracking station (a Microloc system, I think); in Mozambique, a crazy Portuguese dude built his own tracking station back in the 1950s. A few years ago I had one of my students do a project on Nigeria's space heritage, to explore the kinds of values that might be appropriate for space places outside of the Cold War western industrial complexes. I love the ambition of Uganda's attempts to participate in space, and why shouldn't they be ambitious? The big spacefaring states have had it all their ...

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