Edward Makuka Nkoloso
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Formerly a grade school science teacher, he became notorious at the time of independence when he established the Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy, Zambia's first (unofficial) space program.
Space program 
In the 1960s this programme sought to accomplish the launching of a rocket that would send twelve astronauts and ten cats to Mars. Nkoloso hoped to beat the United States and Soviet Union's respective space programs at the height of the Space Race.
To train the astronauts, Nkoloso set up a makeshift facility seven miles from Lusaka, where the trainees, dressed in drab overalls with British army helmets, would then take turns to climb into a 44 gallon oil drum which would be rolled down a hill, bouncing over rough ground; this, according to Nkoloso, would train the men in the feeling of weightlessness in both space travel and re-entry.
Nkoloso wrote an editorial for a newspaper describing his endeavors, in which he described how he had asked UNESCO for a (Zambian) £7,000,000 grant for his space program, and how he specifically instructed the missionary on board not to force Christianity onto the native Martian inhabitants if they didn't want it.
Nkoloso's space program never took off the ground, particularly because of the lack of grants from UNESCO and the fact that the 17-year-old "spacegirl" who was to ride on the mission, Matha Mwambwa, had got pregnant and was taken away by her parents. Furthermore, the Zambian government distanced itself from Nkoloso's endeavor.
He later served as president of the Ndola Ex-servicemen's Association.
- "Tomorrow the Moon," Time, 30 October 1964. Behind paywall.
- "Zambian astronauts train for Moon trip -- Interview with space academy director", ITN, 14 November 1964
- Edward Makuka Nkoloso, "We're going to Mars! With a spacegirl, two cats and a missionary", article from an unidentified edition of an unidentified newspaper, reproduced here in "The Global Trip 2004" (a blog).
- Reproduction in "Investigator Magazine" (tripod.com) of a letter from the Ministry of Power, Transport And Communications, Zambia.
Further reading 
- Patrick Moore, (1972), Can you speak Venusian?: A guide to independent thinkers. David and Charles
- Interview on YouTube