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National Space Academy

South Africa


National Space Academy

South Africa


Professor Anu Ojha

Director, National Space Academy

“Young people are inspired by the mind-blowing possibilities of space science to impact life here on Earth,” says Anu. “The UN has recognised around 30 climate change variables, the majority of which can only be measured from space in real time. So the more that young people learn about space, the more they can address some of the issues threatening sustainability and safety here on Earth, such as climate change and connectivity.”

The National Space Academy was founded on the belief that space science and capabilities can present solutions to the most pressing challenges facing humanity. Supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation since 2013, the Academy provides schools with the extra activities and resources they need to help young people navigate their way into career pathways in science and engineering. To date, over 55,000 students and 5,000 teachers in the UK have participated in its masterclasses and teacher training programmes.

In 2018, the Academy extended its reach, initially to China, by hosting international graduate summer schools with the University of Leicester. Now, thanks to more backing from the Foundation, the Academy is developing a wider strategy for international collaboration on space and education. The latest outcome of this new global outreach programme is the launch of a partnership with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).

Dan Matsapola, Science Engagement Manager at SANSA in Pretoria, takes up the story: “Our continent has the youngest population in the world, with 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30. At SANSA, we’re inspiring them with space’s ‘wow factor’. During 2022, we engaged directly with over 30,000 young people through attendance at multiple, district Space Week events, together with a combination of school visits and workshops”

“Our planet is undeniably in crisis,” adds Anu. “Space science is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It’s a ‘must have’ if we’re going to rise to our big challenges and make the world a safer place. We’re inspiring young people to reach for the stars – and helping them make a real difference to the planet they call home.”

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