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AFRONAUTS


ZAMBIA –   The Zambian space program which began in 1960s is being “relaunched.”

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In 1964, at the very height of the Space Race, Zambian grade-school science teacher Edward Makuka Nkoloso announced he was creating a national space program.

He claimed he would beat both the Soviets and the United States by launching a rocket that would send twelve astronauts and ten cats to Mars.

And now, with NASA shutting down, Zambia is getting back into the space race.  They will be launching their first manned spaceship this summer.

Nkoloso’s grandchildren have taken over his dream.  They have  set up a training facility seven miles away from the capital Lusaka, where volunteers dressed in overalls and British army helmets, took turns climbing into a 44 gallon oil drum and being rolled down a hill bouncing over rough ground.  Excellent training for future astronauts.

Another part of the training involves clipping their rope-swings at the height of their arc to simulate weightlessness. According to Adobo Nkoloso, these exercises  train the men in the feeling of weightlessness in both space travel and re-entry.
The afronauts also wrestle elephants – as a way to build strength.

NASA astronauts say that the afronauts are far more physically capable than any of the American astronauts.    A leading astronauts from the Discovery space mission told WWN that he believes Zambia could overtake Russia in the space race within 20 years and will help make Africa the leader in space exploration.

“Africa is the future of space exploration,” said Dr. Wayne Markam, a NASA engineer.  “The continent of Africa is dedicating a lot of resources to space flight and space exploration.  At at time when Americans have given up, it’s good to see that Africa is taking up the challenges of space.”

PHOTOS by Cristina De Middel