In celebration of World Space Week, SANSA in collaboration with the Secunda Amateur Radio Club and 80 of the areas' top achieving learners; plans on launching two weather balloons to simulate the launch of a satellite. This humble man's private space mission will lift-off from Vryburg on 4 October 2014 with the aim of illustrating the benefits of project-based, science learning activities.
Christo Kriek is the Project Leader and an ardent radio Amateur radio hobbyist. "We (at the Secunda Amateur Radio Club) are passionate about space and believe that knowledge is power," says Kriek. "We are actively involved in launching payloads and then retrieving the payloads once they fall back to Earth," he adds. "The world of science and maths is exciting and the opportunities within these fields are endless. As professionals, it is important for us to expose learners to the fun-side of technology."
Representatives from the South African National Space Agency (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. "One of SANSA's strategic objectives is to develop human capital in terms of science advancement and outreach activities," explains Eugene Avenant, Chief Engineer at SANSA Space Operations. "This mission is an exciting one for us too, as we too look forward to making use of the data captured." As this coincides with the introduction of World Space Week, SANSA envisages having a live streaming of the launch from Vryburg to Secunda; and to the SANSA ground station in Hartebeesthoek.