September 27, 2015 by JImbo
This… looks legit.
Not airworthy, but it does seem to be a valid BBC story.
If indeed true, I’d love to meet the guys putting this together!
It would break my heart to ask them questions like “How do you plan on acquiring the required Delta-V to achieve low earth orbit?”
“Did you ask Richard Branson if you could use his Virgin Galactic design?”
“Is a folding chair the best choice for a crash resistant pilot restraint system?”
Seriously though, I get what they’re doing. Like the British Billionaire, they are building a sub-orbital craft. More a “really high flying plane” rather than a true “space ship.” So, it just goes up really high in the sky to the EDGE of space and then falls back down.
It doesn’t go INTO space.
So, it doesn’t have to go fast or do much. Just go up… coast for a minute… and then come back down. A really high flying rocket powered airplane.
THAT could actually be within their capabilities… maybe. Eventually.
The FIRST prototype is (according to the video below) supposed to only go to 80,000 ft for 12 hours. Very high.. but not nearly the 300,000+ ft that would be needed to reach “space.”
Essentially it’s a home built version of a U-2 spyplane we built in the 1950s.
Virgin Galactic is building a plane that will rocket up to 360,000+ ft and let you be weightless for a moment “in space” (or really really close) and then come back down.
Uganda (at least the first plane) is only going to 80,000 ft. It’s not nearly space, but it IS pretty high up. It looks almost like space if you squint.
(photo from an SR-71 spyplane at 73,000 ft)
As project leader Chris Nsamba says:
“It will first operate in Earth’s lower orbit then advance with time,” he said.
“We might not have money in our system but we do get our homework done!”
Virgin Galactic has a team of professional engineers, millions in funding, and access to the latest high tech construction materials.
Then again Uganda has virtually no aerospace regulations, or work laws, or well… limits of any kind. Except being one of the poorest countries on Earth and lack of most aviation experience. Beyond THAT though…
I haven’t been able to find any new updates on it. The latest are from 2011. The video claims the Ugandan government is pledging 142,000,000 shillings to the project (about $39,000) but that “it hasn’t been delivered yet.” I wonder what their budget REALLY is so far.
(Virgin Galactic is spending MILLIONS to build their shuttles and they are charging up to $250,000 for ONE SEAT on ONE FLIGHT. The Ugandans could built a fleet for that cost!)
Hell, just making a plane that gets off the ground for less than $39,000 would be a pretty nice accomplishment for a village in Africa.
If anyone hears any more about this, please let me know!
CNN picked up on the story too.
And the Daily Mail
In 2013 Chris was waiting on funding to buy a rocket to launch a space probe with a rat inside. (Apparently monkeys were out of the budget.)
Chris Nsamba has a Facebook page.
On July 17 he posted:
This project was manufactured in 2012, we tested it; we were told that H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was the one responsible for giving us launch permissions to space, to date 2015/Jul/2015 we have been blocked from meeting him, the said project has broken down in storage, it needs money reviving it because of long stay.
The main objective of this mission was to find out if we could keep something alive in space as part of future preparations of sending there a human one day.
So, it seems as if the government stopped them after all.
AFRICA; YES WE CAN!