WINDHOEK – A final year master of environmental engineering student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Senior Shimhanda, has been elected to the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) representing Africa.
As regional coordinator for the African Region on the SGAC, he will for two years be the voice of the next generation of young space leaders in Africa. “It is an honour of the highest order. I will wholeheartedly dedicate myself to this role to ensure more involvement of the next space generation in space activities in Africa,” says Shimhanda. The SGAC supports the United Nations Programme (UNP) on Space Applications. It is an international non-governmental, non-profit organisation and network representing university students and young space professionals,18-35 years of age, at the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and the academic world.
Shimhanda says that from now on he will be sitting on the SGAC Executive Committee. He will also coordinate the activities of SGAC in Africa and oversee the work of National Points of Contact (NPoCs).
The African Union is said to be supporting the establishment of the Pan African Space University specialising in the study of space science and satellite development, and Shimhanda says he would like to see NUST and the University of Namibia (UNAM) become partner universities.
He plans to raise awareness regarding the massive benefits of space science and technology. “If Namibia wants to launch an earth observation satellite to complement the National Space Science Council, at least two Namibian engineering graduates must enrol in the Space Engineering International Course (SEIC) with the Kyushu Institute of Technology,” says Shimhanda.
During the two-year project, Shimhanda says, students will design, develop and operate the first Namibian Cube Sat.
“Upon SEIC completion, graduates will return home to locally replicate the satellite development process and domesticate the satellite technology.”
He is an electronics and telecommunications engineering graduate, currently doing his master’s degree in environmental engineering. His lifelong passion for space science and technology inspired his 2016 undergraduate project entitled A Review of the Global Navigation Satellite System and Determination of Onospheric Total Electron Content.
Shimhanda was in 2017 also selected as the only Namibian delegate to the United Nations/South Africa Symposium on Basic Space Technology Initiative at Stellenbosch. He also represented Namibia at the Big Data in Astronomy workshop held in Mauritius last August, which included a science communication workshop organised by the South African Square Kilometre Array (SKA-SA).