Ugandan Chris Nsamba, founder of the African Space Research Program, has an ambitious dream - to put someone in orbit in just six years. To this end, he has turned his own back garden into a spaceship construction site. Although lacking in the sophisticated tools and machinery generally needed for this type of work, all those involved in the project seem to be happy and proud of what they are trying to do.
The first step undertaken by Nsamba and his volunteer team, mostly made up of engineering students, is to build an aircraft, giving the group valuable experience to help them with the next task of designing a real spaceship capable of flying around the Earth with a Ugandan onboard.
"The plane is still far from being completed and it has no engine," confessed the future aerospace engineers in a recent interview, and though the aircraft is not much more than a rough prototype, it is sufficiently motivating for the group, who have decorated it with the Ugandan flag on the fuselage.
Nsamba is a restless dreamer who tries to think of everything. He is the one to train the team, helped by his experience as an astronomy student, and it is he who will one day certify the future Ugandan astronaut. He does not allow a lack of local facilities to hamper their progress and has even come up with a plan to simulate microgravity: "I've got a jet engine on order so I'm planning to build a tunnel, put the engine at one end and when I throw a guy in he'll float in a similar way to how he would in space."
Possibly not all Nsamba’s dreams will become reality and probably the launch of a spacecraft from Kampala, Uganda will not take place in the next decade. However, it is good to see that there are still dreamers out there in the world, willing and able to battle against disadvantage, adversity and disbelief.
So many have so much in this world and yet do so little – by contrast, Chris Nsamba does so much with practically nothing. For him, quite literally, not even the sky is the limit!