EVENT: FIRST AFRICAN IN SPACE
Cell: +27 82 990 0561
Tel: +27 21 970 1010
Cell: +27 82 873 1307
AFRICAN ASTRONAUT TO VISIT ISS IN APRIL 2002
The first African citizen to fly to space will launch in April 2002.
Mark Shuttleworth, a South African entrepreneur, will stake Africa's
claim to the 21st Century in space by joining a multinational crew of
astronauts and cosmonauts in a joint program of science and media
activities on the International Space Station (ISS).
"I have always dreamed of space as a platform for inspiration, education
and technology, and am working to realize that dream for South Africa,"
He is currently undergoing training as a cosmonaut at Star City, outside
Moscow, and will be a fully certified member of the Soyuz crew,
responsible for some Soyuz systems during the flight. Shuttleworth will
conduct several scientific experiments while in space, in collaboration
with South African and Russian researchers, as well as participating in
a national media campaign focusing on the global digital divide and the
importance of mathematics and science education.
This initiative will provide a major boost to the South African National
Education Strategy for Science and Mathematics and its efforts to
attract South African students to high technology careers. It will
provide an opportunity for South African scientists to conduct
scientific experiments in the unique environment of weightlessness and
microgravity. It will also focus national attention on South Africa's
budding space technology research program at the Houwteq Institute for
Space and Software Applications and other local institutions. But most
importantly, it will reach out to people of all ages across the African
continent and challenge them to reach for their own dreams.
"I believe that Africa will emerge as a vibrant and successful global
economic power this century, and I hope that our first foray into space
helps people across the continent imagine ways in which they can
participate in that success. We must address the complex issues that
face the continent, many of which are rooted in the past, but we must
also never lose sight of the future that we are building" said
"This is the realization of a personal dream, a dream that started at
the tip of Africa. I hope it will inspire many of my fellow Africans, of
all ages, to believe in the power of their dreams."
Attached please find an executive summary of this historic event,
summaries of the experiments and descriptions of their significance to
A videoconference date for the official launch is being secured and we
will forward you all details pertaining to this as soon as this is