14 hrs ·
Today I made a statement to Parliament on Uganda's readiness to tap
into the potential of space Science in the short,medium and long term.
Parliament adopted the statement. Here it's is;
STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION RAISED BY HON.
CUTHBERT ABIGABA, MP KIBALE COUNTY DURING PRIME MINISTER'S QUESTION
UGANDA'S PLANS FOR OUTER SPACE
HON. FRANK K. TUMWEBAZE
MINISTER OF ICT AND NATIONAL GUIDANCE
June 04, 2017
Rt. Hon. Speaker, during the Prime Minister's question time on 1st
February 2017, Hon. Cuthbert Abigaba wanted to know what plans the
Government had in place to tap into the vast opportunity provided by
the Upper air space and whether there is any policy on this matter and
the implementing Agency.
Subsequently the question was forwarded to my Ministry for appropriate response.
The Outer Space is where satellites (including the moon) are located
and operations in the Outer Space is for the benefit of mankind and
not specific to any state. The Ministries of Defence, ICT, Air
Transport, etc. have got interests and do benefit from the Projects in
the Outer Space. Space science is therefore broad and involves
Satellite Communication, weather forecasting and defense systems among
others. The component relevant to the Ministry of ICT's mandate, is
There is no firm boundary where Outer Space begins. However, the
Kármán line, at an altitude of 100 km above sea level, is
conventionally used as the start of Outer Space for the purpose of
space treaties and aerospace records keeping. The framework for
international space law was established by the Outer Space Treaty,
which was passed by the United Nations in 1967. This treaty precludes
any claims of national sovereignty and permits all states to explore
Outer Space freely for peaceful purposes. In 1979, the Moon Treaty
made the surfaces of objects such as planets, as well as the orbital
space around these bodies, the jurisdiction of the international
community. Additional resolutions regarding the peaceful uses of Outer
Space have been drafted by the United Nations, but these have not
precluded the deployment of weapons into Outer Space, including the
live testing of anti-satellite weapons.
In December, 2014, the African Union organized a Validation Workshop
on the African Outer Space Policy and Strategy in Brazzaville-Congo.
At continental level, therefore, there are efforts to discuss and
evolve relevant policies on the usage of space science. This
continental forum is likely to help the AU members understand more on
the development of the Policy and Strategy regarding the Outer Space
Satellite Communication (Geostationary Orbital slots):
In the management of outer space specific mention should be made of
the geostationary orbital slots. The geostationary orbit (approx.
36,000 KMs above sea level) is a geosynchronous orbit which is in the
same plane as the equator. This is the orbit where communications
satellites are located and makes them perfect repeaters of radio
signals because they appear stationary relative to the earth. Each
Member of the United Nations (Uganda inclusive) is allocated one
orbital slot which it can use or in partnership with other
institutions. The governance of these orbital slots is carried out by
the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO).
Uganda has been an active member of ITSO and I am glad to report to
Parliament that last year, Ugandan fielded a candidate, campaigned and
won for the position of Director General of ITSO.
As mentioned above, Uganda being an active member of ITU and ITSO
benefits from outer space through satellite broadcasting,
telecommunications services (telecom operators and other ISPs use
satellite as a primary and alternative route for both backup and
emergencies for data and voice communications), metrological services
and geo mapping (location of mineral deposits and water basins) among
Government of Uganda through Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)
manages and regulates the usage of airspace in as far as Communication
services are concerned. This is done though the management of the
National table of frequency allocations derived from the International
Table of Frequency Allocations under the framework of International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) where Uganda is an active member on the
Council of Administration. Furthermore, Uganda is allocated orbital
slots (with code number UGA 05100) under the ITU Orbital Slots
Allocation table for the development of space communication
infrastructure e.g. Development and launch of satellites.
UGANDA'S POLICY AND STRATEGY ON SATELLITE COMMUNICATION
As a country, we would wish in future to develop and launch
communication satellites because it is the most safer and reliable
means of communication, though expensive. Currently, we are depending
on optic fibre and other outsourced external satellite service
providers for connection to other Countries. Optic fibre communication
is affordable but prone to Natural and man-made disasters which
satellite communication supersedes. The Ministry of ICT and National
Guidance is currently developing a digital vision for Uganda as an
overall ICT policy framework and it will set digital milestones for
each sector of Government. Country aspirations on Satellite
development and deployment will be part of this ICT digital framework
and its implementation will depend on the Country's resource envelop.
Thank you Rt. Hon. Speaker and Members for listening to me
Frank K. Tumwebaze,MP
Minister of ICT & National Guidance
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