The future is female. Even in space
Brittany Bull’s squad may look like any other high-school girl gang. But they’re so much more than that. The teenagers are part of the team behind the launch of South Africa’s first privately-owned satellite to make it into space. Using information collected from the device, they can contribute to better predictions and preparations for changing weather patterns. Together, these girls are leading the way for a future of young South Africans to consider the possibilities of space exploration.
Bull and a group of other promising students participated in a week-long science camp to learn about space technology, hosted by South Africa’s Meta Economic Development Organisation (MEDO). Satellite engineers from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology taught the learners to design and build payloads – the technology within satellites that enables communication and transmits information to the ground. They participated in trials to launch small satellites into the atmosphere using high-altitude weather balloons, which provide insight that assists with disaster prevention, particularly with regard to droughts, wildfires and flooding.
Bull has been able to enjoy the practical side of science and use the theory she was taught in class. The experience changed the way she sees her role as a woman in the field. “My motivation to any young girl who wants to follow a career in science is that there’s nothing stopping you,” she says, “because you will never know what you can give to the world until you try.” In between the everyday challenges of high school and growing up, these girls have used their intelligence and curiosity to develop the future of science in South Africa. Now that’s squad goals.