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Women play a vital part in the shaping of African space exploration

At the headquarters of Cape own, one can see women monitoring a system f screens, scanning data that space explorers would use to understand the universe. The data originates from the MeerKAT array with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) in operation. SARAO is among the most developed technologies worldwide and entails 64 linked satellite dishes sited in a remote region of the Northern Cape. Pontsho Maruping, assistant managing director, said in a statement that the project serves as a vital milestone in the whole of Africa, and space explorers in different countries are undergoing training.  The project will give people the freedom to participate in the most advanced technology industries in the world.

Space programs are surging, especially in satellites and telescopes, as a way of getting ready to launch an African space explorer into space. Women in leadership roles are among the space programs in Africa. During the celebration of Women’s Day, three inspiring women pioneers contributing to the shape of future space were honored. They include;

Jessie Ndaba, Space Engineer

Jessie Ndaba is a South African-based space engineer and the co-founder of Khalid Manjoo Company. The company, which is situated in Cape Town, is fully operated by blacks. The company mainly does assembling, manufacturing, and experimenting with satellite systems. Africa has launched 41 satellites into space, and the number would triple in four years to come.  Jessie Ndaba stated that space exploration was a calling, and she developed a great interest when she saw a picture of the rocket engine in a book.

Adriana Marais, an explorer, and physicist

For Adrian, she has set her eyes to the Red Planet only, and she anticipates that one day she will execute her mission. She would prefer living on Mars to any other planet. In 2015, Adriana smelt her dream so close when she was shortlisted as 100 space explorers picked to do Mars One Project. She hopes one day, human beings will be able to live on Mars and have a wonderful life on a different planet.

Ruvimbo Samanga, a space law adviser

In 2018, she led a group of students into landing a prestigious global Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition. This was the point Samanga realized that she could merge her two passions into a single career of becoming a space law as well as a policy advisor.

Space law regulates space-related activities such as the usage of space technologies, space object damage, as well as the protection of space and Earth ecosystems, and it is continually evolving to keep up with technological advancements.

Samanga is a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council that supports the United Nations Programme on the Space Applications, which promotes the collaboration of space technology advantages with developing countries that lack the means to do so.

“There are many problems in Zimbabwe, and there is an immediate necessity for the socioeconomic development everywhere,” she says, citing the ongoing food security crisis triggered by extreme droughts.

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