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Teenager girls prepare for space launch

CNN   — 

They might be teenagers, but 17-year-old Brittany Bull plus 16-year-old Sesam Mngqengqiswa have grand ambitions – to release Africa’s first personal satellite into space in 2019.

They may be part of a team of high school girls from Cape City, South Africa, who have developed and built payloads for a satellite that will orbit over the earth’s poles scanning Africa’s surface.

Once in space, the satellite television will collect information on agriculture, and meals security within the continent.

Using the data carried, “we can attempt to determine and predict the problems Africa will be facing in the future”, explains Bull, a student at Pelican Recreation area High School.

South Africa's program aims to encourage girls into STEM, particularly astronomy. Less than 10% of young women are interested in STEM subjects.

“Where our your meals are growing, where we can plant more trees and shrubs and vegetation and also how we can monitor remote areas, ” she says. “We have a lot of woodland fires and floods but we do not always get out there in time. ”

Info received twice per day will go towards catastrophe prevention.

It’s portion of a project by South Africa’s Meta Financial Development Organization (MEDO) working with Morehead Condition University in the US.

Impressive first

The girls (14 within total) are being prepared by satellite engineers from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, in a bid in order to encourage more African women into COME (science, technology, anatomist, mathematics).

If the kick off is successful, it will generate MEDO the first personal company in Africa to build a satellite tv and send it into orbit.

“We expect to receive a good sign, which will allow us to obtain reliable data, ” declares an enthusiastic Mngqengqiswa, of Philippi Secondary school. “In South Africa we have experienced some of the worst floods and droughts and it has really impacted the farmers incredibly badly. ”

By 2020 80% of jobs will be related to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), MEDO predicts, but currently only 14% of the STEM workforce globally are women.

Drought together with environmental effects right from climate change contain continued to trouble the country in recent years. A great El Niño activated drought led to the shortfall of 9. about three million tons in southern Africa’s April 2016 maize production, in accordance with an UN statement.

“It has caused our economy shed … This is a technique of looking at how we could boost our financial system, ” says the new Mngqengqiswa.

Inspiring girls

The girls' satellite will have a detailed vantage point of South Africa's drought crisis which led to a shortfall of 9.3 million tons in southern Africa's April 2016 maize production.

Initial trials involved the girls coding and launching tiny CricketSat satellites applying high-altitude weather balloons, before eventually helping configure the satellite payloads.

Small formatting satellites are low-priced ways of gathering information on the planet quickly. Checks so far have involved collecting thermal the image data which is in that case interpreted for early flood or drought detection.

“It’s a brand new field for us [in Africa] although I think with it we might be able to make favourable changes to our overall economy, ” says Mngqengqiswa.

Ultimately, it is hoped the project will incorporate girls from Namibia, Malawi, Kenya, and Rwanda.

Mngqengqiswa arises from a single parent home. Her mother is actually a domestic worker. By becoming a space industrial engineer or astronaut, typically the teenager hopes to create her mother very pleased.

“Discovering space and seeing the Earth’s atmosphere, it’s not a thing many black Africans have been able to do, or do not get the chance to look at, ” states Mngqengqiswa.

The schoolgirl is right; in half a century of space travel, no black African has journeyed in order to outer space. “I want to see these things for me, ” says Mngqengqiswa, “I want to be competent to experience these things. ”

Her team partner, Bull agrees: “I want to show in order to fellow girls that individuals don’t need to stay around or reduce ourselves. Any profession is possible – possibly aerospace. ”