About 14 South African teenage girls have built the first-ever private satellite into space, to monitor the continent’s shifting weather conditions.
Set to be launched in May next year, the girls have designed and made the payload for the satellite, which will orbit over Earth’s poles and scan the surface of the African continent.
The satellite’s payload will send back detailed thermal imaging data twice a day to help disaster prevention and improve food security in the region.
“We can try to determine and predict the problems Africa will be facing in the future,” Brittany Bull, a student at Pelican Park High School in South Africa who worked on the payload, told CNN.
“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.”
“In South Africa we have experienced some of the worst floods and droughts and it has really affected the farmers very badly,” one of the team, Sesam Mngqengqiswa from Philippi High School, told CNN.
“We expect to receive a good signal, which will allow us to receive reliable data … 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.”