Although various countries have sent representatives to space, it is still quite shocking that not one African country is yet to accomplish this feat. A group of teenage African girls now have big plans to launch Africa’s first private satellite into space.
These girls have designed and built payloads for the private satellite which will aid Africa. According to the report, the satellite will scan Africa’s surface, collecting information on agriculture, and food security in the continent.
This will act as a first step in determining the problems in Africa and how to effectively solve them.
In the words of 17-year-old Brittany Bull, a student at Pelican Park High School, “we can try to determine and predict the problems Africa will be facing in the future.”
She also said:
“Where our food is growing, where we can plant more trees and vegetation and also how we can monitor remote areas.
“We have a lot of forest fires and floods but we don’t always get out there in time.”
This program is part of a project by South Africa’s Meta Economic Development Organization (MEDO) working with Morehead State University in the United States.
The programme, which is set to launch in May 2017, has 14 girls enrolled. They are all being trained by satellite engineers from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. They have the aim of encouraging more African women to be interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
According to MEDO, only 14% of the STEM workforce are women. And this was determined at a global level, not just in Africa. Many analysts project a continuous rise in STEM jobs, yet not enough women to take on some of these jobs. MEDO also predicts that by 2020, 80% of jobs will be related to STEM.
“We expect to receive a good signal, which will allow us to receive reliable data,” 16-year-old Sesam Mngqengqiswa, of Philippi High School told CNN.
“In South Africa, we have experienced some of the worst floods and droughts and it has really affected the farmers very badly.”
The girls went from programming and launching small CricketSat satellites, to helping to configure the satellite payloads.
Although the project started in South Africa, it has hopes of expanding, to include girls from neighbouring Namibia, Malawi, Kenya, and Rwanda.