World Union Records achievement for the FIRST high-altitude balloon satellite launch in Africa (Seychelles)
DSTI collaborated with dr. Srimathy Kesan, the chief executive officer of SKI (Space Kidz India) and was funded by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to build an in-house satellite in Seychelles. The program aims to promote and make the school children enthusiastic about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and Frontier technologies. The participants were introduced to different concepts including basic hands-on computer training, robotics, artificial intelligence, etc. Through the program, 20 students were equipped with knowledge and skills that may be useful to them in the future.
At the end of the training, in April 2022, the students launched the FIRST balloon satellite in Africa to collect data about various aspects, such as air quality, humidity, the radiation level of our ‘near space’ and atmosphere at an altitude of around 70,000ft to 100,000ft. The launch was a success and it reached an altitude of 73,000 feet before it came back down and attained a world record for high-altitude balloon launch on the continent. A great achievement to be celebrated in Africa.. in SEYCHELLES!!
“Who would have imagined that Seychelles being a small island could achieve such a feat?” asked Mrs. Michel-Gendron, the secretary general for UNESCO.
“… these milestones are as a result of what we anticipated when we launched the policy for science, technology, and innovation… we thought the best way to boost enthusiasm in technology was to get them involved practically and build their own robots, launch a drone, learn codings and more. And this achievement shows that our students are talented” said Mr. Estico.
Naveen Volcere, a participant and student from Mont Fleuri secondary school, who is very interested to study in the field of mechanical engineering said that it was a great opportunity for young students and he hopes to get more educational opportunities in the future.
Along with celebrating the success of the first phase, Mr. Estico launched the second phase of the satellite program which he said includes mostly programming. Each student received a tool kit that will allow them to connect to any electronic device. “The students are presently following training online from various international organizations such as NASA. There are a lot of codings in satellite technology and this will help them develop their programming skills.” said Mr. Estico.
Mr. Estico explained that Seychelles’ recent feat has generated interest from other countries, especially from the SADC (Southern African Development Community), and would soon hold bilateral talks with South Africa which have a program called Square Kilometer Array (SKA) to see where they can collaborate.
Mr. Estico stated that “Ultimately, we believe we can launch a satellite, built entirely by Seychellois-hands technology which will stay in orbit for a long time. This will be quite a milestone and I believe we are moving in the right direction“
(Below are some photos of the event)