African Aeronautics and Space Organisation (AASO)’s President, Sékou Ouedraogo, on Wednesday, last week, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the President of the National Centre for Space Studies(CNES), Jean-Yves Le Gall on the ActInSpace, an international innovative contest meant to motivate youngsters to meet challenges based on space applications and technologies, data, patents and infrastructure to launch start-ups and innovations as well as unleash their entrepreneurial capabilities.
Speaking with Space in Africa on the details of the MoU, Mr Ouedraogo said the deal aims to grant all access to space solutions and to develop and promote local space-based startup projects to have an immense impact on socio-economic growth of the continent.
According to him, the agreement also consolidates AASO’s position as a bridge, linking international organisers of the contest to local support as the AASO is concerned with facilitating platforms that provide developmental opportunities for Africa youth such as the ActInSpace contest 2020.
Although the contest holds globally, he said AASO is currently collaborating with local organisations in three countries in West Africa, including Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria to host the contest, and is willing to expand the contest to other African countries with the support of interested local organisers.
ActInSpace became a global event in 2018. The contest took place on May 25-26, 2018, in 32 countries and 54 cities. ActInSpace has over 3,300 entrants in its third edition with 2,200 participants on one day of the event with more than 550 teams working for 24 hours on one of the 80 challenges set. This year’s event will take place in 50 countries, and 92 cities with 447 selected applicants participating in 21 challenges.
Specifically designed for students, but open to everyone, the objective is to encourage start-up creation and promote the use of space technologies and space-acquired data to change citizens’ lives, to boost employment and to protect our planet.
The contest also presents an opportunity for participants worldwide to work on creating business prospectives for the challenges using patents, technologies and satellite data made available by partners of the contest, to create start-ups.
The challenges are based on high-level technologies, which are easy to re-use because, they have been selected due to their potential for commercial applications. The contest is also a platform for young people to be coached, advised and encouraged by top technical and business experts.
The winners of the ActInSpace2020 contest will receive prizes, with the grand prize being a Zero-G Airbus A310 parabolic flight. However, the main goal is to reach solutions ready to launch start-up companies.
ActInSpace is organised in collaboration with CNES, European Space Agency(ESA), Airbus and others.