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ZAMBIA: ZAMBIAN ASTRONAUTS TRAIN FOR MOON TRIP -- INTERVIEW WITH SPACE ACADEMY DIRECTOR


Story

A GROUP OF ZAMBIANS HAS JOINED THE RACE TO GET THE FIRST MAN ON THE MOON. IF ALL GOES WELL, SAYS THEIR LEADER, THE TRIP WILL BE EARLY NEXT YEAR. TWELVE WOULD-BE ASTRONAUTS ARE CURRENTLY BEING TRAINED UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF ZAMBIA'S SELF-APPOINTED "MINISTER OF SPACE," MR. EDWARD NKOLOSO.
THE TRAINING IS BEING CARRIED OUT AT AN ABANDONED FARMHOUSE NEAR LUSAKA, WHICH MR. NKOLOSO CALLS THE ZAMBIA SPACE ACADEMY. FROM HERE, HE SAYS, THE ROCKET WILL BE LAUNCHED. THE OIL DRUM-SHAPED ROCKET -- MEASURING 10 FEET (3 METRES) LONG -- IS MADE OF ALUMINUM AND COPPER.
MR. NKOLOSO IS DEADLY SERIOUS ABOUT HIS BID TO JOIN THE SPACE CLUB. "OUR THINKING IS ALREADY SIX OR SEVEN YEARS AHEAD OF AMERICA AND RUSSIA," HE SAYS. "I HAVE KNOWN FOR LONG THAT RUSSIAN SPIES ARE OPERATING IN ZAMBIA. YES, AND AMERICAN SPIES AREA ALL OVER TOWN, TOO. THEY WANT OUR SPACE SECRETS." HE WANTS THEM ROUNDED UP AND JAILED WITHOUT TRIAL.
AT THE MOMENT, TWO VITAL MOON TRIPS HAVE TO BE OVERCOME BEFORE THE MOON TRIP IS POSSIBLE: THE LACK OF MONEY AND ROCKET FUEL. MR NKOLOSO HAS ASKED UNESCO FOR A GBP7 1/2-MILLION GRANT, AND THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT FOR SUPPLIES OF LIQUID OXYGEN AND LIQUID HYDROGEN.
MEANWHILE, HE IS PRESSING ON WITH THE TRAINING PROGRAMME. ONE OF THE ASTRONAUTS IS A GIRL -- 15-YEAR-OLD MATHA MWAMBA. HE HOPES THAT SHE WILL BE THE FIRST PERSON TO LAND ON MARS, THE SECOND PHASE OF HIS ROCKET PROJECT.
IN AN INTERVIEW, MR. NKOLOSO TALKED ABOUT THE PROJECT:--

Reference 10448/64
Tape
Issue
Can 4102
Source REUTERS
Restrictions Restrictions on certain uses may apply, and may vary from those listed.
Time code
Date original 13 NOV 1964
Duration 4.01
Technical 16MM/NEG.
Subset Reuters TV - RTV Post 1957
Location NEAR LUSAKA, ZAMBIA
Sound SOF
Colourbw B/W

THE ASTRONAUTS INCLUDING A GIRL, UNDERGOING PHYSICAL EXERCISES, BEING ROCKED UP INSIDE THE "ROCKET CAPSULE" FOR "TOUGHENING UP," SWINGING ON A TREE SWING TO GET USED TO WEIGHTLESSNESS, BEING ROLLED DOWN AN ANT-HILL INSIDE AN OIL DRUM FOR MORE "TOUGHENING UP," PRACTISING SIMULATED LANDINGS IN WATER, A SOF INTERVIEW WITH MR. NKOLOSO, AND THE INTERVIEWER'S OVERALL IMPRESSION (SOF) -- "A BUNCH OF CRACKPOTS."
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: "MR. NKOLOSO, IS THIS SITE FOR YOUR ROCKET LAUNCHING PROGRAMME AND COULD YOU TELL ME WHERE YOUR ROCKET IS?"
NKOLOSO: "YES, THIS IS THE ROCKET LAUNCHING SITE, AND MY ROCKET IS JUST HERE."
REPORTER: "AND WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR ORGANISATION."
NKOLOSO: "THE NAME OF MY ORGANISATION IS THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, SPACE RESEARCH AND ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH."
REPORTER: "AND WHAT POSITION DO YOU HOLD IN THE ORGANISATION?"
NKOLOSO: "I AM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF SPACE RESEARCH AND PHILOSOPHY."
REPORTER: "AND WHEN WILL YOU FIRE OFF YOUR FIRST ROCKET AND WHERE WILL YOU SEND IT TO?"
NKOLOSO: "I WILL FIRE IT FROM LUSAKA AND IT WILL GO STRAIGHT TO THE MOON, AND IT DEPENDS HOW MUCH MONEY I GOT. IF THERE WERE ENOUGH FUNDS, IT WOULD BE VERY SOON...BUT IF NOT, IT WILL MAKE THE DELAY LONGER."
REPORTER: "AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THE REACTION OF RUSSIA AND AMERICA WILL BE TO ZAMBIA'S JOINING IN THE SPACE RACE?"
NKOLOSO: "WELL, THEY'LL ONLY BE SURPRISED....AT OUR RESOURCES AND INTELLIGENCE....BUT I AM SURE WE ARE CATCHING THEM."
REPORTER: "YES, MR. NKOLOSO. HAS PRESIDENT KAUNDA GIVEN PERMISSION FOR YOUR PROJECT, HAS THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVED OF IT?"
NKOLOSO: "NOT AS YET, BUT THEY ARE TAKING IN INTEREST IN SEEING WHAT I AM DOING, BECAUSE THIS IS A NOVELTY IN THIS COUNTRY."
REPORTER: "AND SO HERE, AT AN ABANDONED FARMHOUSE NOT FAR FROM LUSAKA, WE HAVE A YOUTHFUL GROUP OF BUDDING ASTRONAUTS PLAYING AT ENTERING ZAMBIA FOR THE WORLD SPACE RACE. HOWEVER, TO MOST ZAMBIANS, THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST A BUNCH OF CRACKPOTS. AND FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN TODAY I'M INCLINED TO AGREE."

InitialsJT/VS/AW/JG

Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

Ref: BGY505190222

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