Learners briefing session
Learners in Secunda in Mpumalanga will on Saturday 03 October participate in the launch of high altitude weather balloons into space, in an initiative to stir up excitement about space explorations.
Celebrating World Space Week, this initiative is a partnership between the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Secunda Amateur Radio Club (SARL) to get high school learners interested in science, space and technology.
The event will be held at Secunda Hoërskool where spectators are expected to arrive as early as 07:00. This year SARL will attempt to break the world record by aiming to exceed the current world record of 37km. High Altitude weather balloons are launched in collaboration with schools to teach learners about physics concepts, experimental research skills, and to make space exploration accessible to learners. This has become a growing activity that involves ham radio enthusiasts and educators looking for low cost but exciting science projects for their learners.
Three local schools will be launching their own payloads which were built by learners. About 60 learners will be hands-on onsite and more than 400 will attend as spectators. Representatives from SANSA will set up a mobile ground station in Secunda and make use of the existing CubeSat ground station in Hartebeesthoek, to track the balloons with the learners and collect real-time data from the payloads as they ascend.
The data received will be shared with learners in the surrounding areas of Secunda who are also taking part in this initiative.