China working with Africa on youth space education
African governments are working with China to build a space science exchange platform for Chinese and African middle school students to explore a new mode of space science cooperation.
On December 26, 2021, a 6-unit cubesat dubbed “101 Middle School Satellite for Science Education” [developed by DFH Satellite Co., Ltd] was successfully launched by Long March 4C at China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.
China’s National Engineering Research Center for Small Satellites and Applications (DFH Satellite Co., Ltd) is subordinated to the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) as part of the Hyperspace Opportunity for Pioneering Education (HOPE) plan proposed by both Chinese and African governments.
Furthermore, HOPE is an aerospace science cooperation plan between China and African countries. It was initiated by China National Space Administration (CNSA) under the framework of China-Africa traditional friendship and space cooperation, aiming to build a space science exchange platform for Chinese and African middle school students to explore a new mode of space science popularisation cooperation.
In November 2021, this space cooperation between China-Africa youth students was included in the “Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024)” adopted by the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Furthermore, the Action Plan states that “China and African countries will set up a China-Africa youth space alliance as a platform for space exchanges between Chinese and African middle school students, and explore new ways of science popularization in China-Africa space cooperation, to lay the foundation for realising the development vision of emerging space countries in Africa.”
In the middle of December, the HOPE plan was kick started, and the first students’ exchange and training among China, Egypt and Ethiopia were held online. Apart from middle school students from those countries, officers of China National Space Administration (CNSA), Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) and Egyptian Ministry of Education were in attendance.
Lastly, the cooperation on the CubeSat Middle School Student Science Project is the plan’s first. In the following months, the CNSA will organize more activities such as aerospace winter/summer camp for middle school students and forums on aerospace education experience between principals. Consequently, more African and Arab countries will be invited to participate in the program.