These girls may be teenagers, Brittany Bull who is 17-year-old and Sesam Mngqengqiswa who is 16-year-old – both have grand ambitions to launch Africa’s first private satellite into space. Can you believe that? Well, yes you have to.
Brittany and Sesam, who are part of a team of high school girls from Cape Town, South Africa – have not only designed but built payloads for a satellite that will orbit over the earth’s poles scanning Africa’s surface.
When analysing the data transmitted by the satellite, Brittany a student at Pelican Park High School has this to say; “we can try to determine and predict the problems Africa will be facing in the future”.
Once in space, the satellite will collect information on agriculture, and food security within the continent.
“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.” Brittany added.
Essentially, information received twice a day will go towards disaster prevention. This is part of a project by South Africa’s Meta Economic Development Organization (MEDO) working with Morehead State University in the US.
The destruction of farm produce by natural disaster and other human factors has crippled agricultural growth in Africa – especially in South Africa. “It has caused our economy to drop … This is a way of looking at how we can boost our economy,” “It’s a new field for us [in Africa] but I think with it we would be able to make positive changes to our economy,” added young Mngqengqiswa.
The girls (14 in total) are being trained by satellite engineers from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, in a bid to encourage more African women into STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Ultimately, this project is hoped to include girls from Namibia, Malawi, Kenya, and Rwanda.
“Discovering space and seeing the Earth’s atmosphere, it’s not something many black Africans have been able to do, or do not get the opportunity to look at,” says Mngqengqiswa.
Mngqengqiswa comes from a single parent household. Her mother is a domestic worker. By becoming a space engineer or astronaut, the teenager hopes to make her mother proud.
Brittany concluding statement was “I want to show to fellow girls that we don’t need to sit around or limit ourselves. Any career is possible — even aerospace.”
This teenage scientist shot their grand ambitions to the next level. Not only are they ready to launch Africa’s first private satellite into space in May 2017, their first piloting would focus on South Africa’s agriculture – from monitoring remote areas to where more trees and vegetation can be planted in other to increase agricultural production in South Africa their country.
This would be a ground breaking accomplishment for these teenagers, as they are ready to leave their comfort zone and make a difference.
Oprah Winfrey once said; The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. Remember your life is a message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring.