Two high school students from Cape Town, South Africa have designed and built payloads for Africa’s first private satellite to launch in May 2017.
Through a STEM program project by South Africa’s Meta Economic Development Organization (MEDO) working with Morehead State University in the US, consisting satellite engineers from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, 17-year-old Brittany Bull and 16-year-old Sesam Mngqengqiswa have created payloads for the shuttle. Payloads are according to Wikipedia, “are satellite, space probe, or spacecraft carrying humans, animals, or cargo. “
This is of significance to South Africa as they recently endured an El Nino drought in April of this year, causing a major drop in their maize crop. They will be imported 3 to 4 million tons of maize to make up for their shortfall. With the satellite, they have been able to collect thermal imaging data which they then use to interpret early flood or drought detection.
In an CNN interview, Mngqengqiswa said, “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.”
The older of the two, Bull agreed and added, “I want to show to fellow girls that we don’t need to sit around or limit ourselves. Any career is possible — even aerospace.”