Next May Africa will launch its first ever private satellite. But this is no ordinary satellite. It has been built by 14 year old South African girls as part of a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) boot camp at their high school.
The satellite will be launched into space to monitor the shifting weather conditions of the continent. The satellite’s payload will then send detailed thermal imaging data back twice a day. This will drastically help in preventing disasters and improving the food security in the region. The satellite which was also designed by the students will orbit over the Earth’s poles and scan the African continent.
Brittany Bull, a student from the Pelican Park High School who worked on the payload said that it will prove useful in determining and predicting problems of the region. She also said that it will show them data of where their food grows and which areas can be vegetated and thus bringing about monitoring of remote areas. Brittany also added that there are a lot of forest fires and floods, which often cannot be stopped or people evacuated in time because of a lack of data to understand the situation.
The satellite was bought by South Africa’s Meta Economic Development Organization which is training students to make its payload. They are being trained by satellite engineers from Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Impressively, during the girl’s initial training phase, they used high-altitude weather balloons to launch small CricketSat satellites.