Africa's race for space has started
Professor Peter Martinez, chair of the South African Space Council, convener of the Spacelab project at the University of Cape Town and mission administrator for the Africa2Moon mission officially opened the call for mission concept proposals during a press conference at the Cape Town Science Centre last Friday.
The Africa2Moon Mission is a multi-year public participation space programme designed to showcase existing space capabilities on the continent; provide opportunities for researchers & aerospace professionals to work on a world-class project; to retain and attract essential space science & engineering skills in and to Africa; to inspire the next generation of space scientists & engineers from Africa; and through the continent’s first lunar exploration, make a meaningful scientific contribution to global lunar research.
The project is being driven the Foundation for Space Development, a non-profit entity that focuses on space education and outreach to promote STEM education. Last November the Foundation launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise seed funding for a Phase I study. The study will be based on the outcome of a competitive call for proposals for mission concepts.
Whilst representatives from all sectors and nations have been encouraged to submit, certain restrictions were announced by Professor Martinez.
Specifically, each proposal team must be led by a Principal Investigator, who must be an African citizen domiciled in an African country at the time that the proposal is submitted.
In addition proposers have been encouraged to consider education and outreach in their proposals along with any scientific objectives.
Accompanied by Foundation for Space Development board memberCarla Sharpe, and CEO, Mr. Jonathan Weltman, Professor Martinez went on to say that proposals can be for the full mission concept or for accompanying scientific payloads only.
The deadline for submission is the 30 June 2015. Submissions must be made online at africa2moon.developspacesa.org/call/concepts/submit
The Africa2Moon Proposal Review Committee will consider all the proposals received by the due date and will identify one or more mission concepts for further consideration and development during 2016 and 2017.
The Proposal Review Committee will comprise experts in space science and technology, as well as the other facets of the Africa2Moon project.
Proposals will be evaluated in terms of how well they address all the aspects of the Africa2Moon vision