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.
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.
PHOTOS by Cristina De Middel