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