Prospective Development of Uhuru Spaceport
As satellite launches and space-related research/technology advances, the Sub-Saharan Africa will need a spaceport. The concept of the East African Spaceport nicknamed “Uhuru,” a Swahili word that means “freedom,” was first suggested during the 2012 NSBE Aerospace Systems Conference in Los Angeles. A preliminary study followed during the 2013 Space Technology Session (STS-2013) and recommended establishing a permanent spaceport in East Africa, close to the Equator. This paper discusses the prospective sites and suggested phases of development of Uhuru Spaceport: Uhuru Earth research and education center, suborbital infrastructure development and suborbital space science center, and orbital launch and planetary development center. Also, this paper addresses some factors affecting the development and operation of Uhuru Spaceport; that could provide low-cost, reliable access to space while stimulating African economic and technology advancement.
Keywords: Space Launch, East Africa, Feasibility Study, Uhuru Spaceport, Equatorial Launch Site, Space Policy