Xinabox R&D, a Cape Town-based developer of modular electronics and IoT kits for rapid prototyping and STEM education, has partnered with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) to deploy an environmental monitoring rig on Antarctica for a data collection mission.
“Since mid-Feb, a XinaBox environmental monitoring rig (our flagship XK01 kit) has been placed in situ outside the base, monitoring and reporting live data to an IoT platform. Our thanks to SANSA for enabling this initiative, which aims to engage school children from South Africa and around the world, giving them a chance to be a part of this mission and contribute to the science that is undertaken there,” a statement by XinaBox reads in part.
“Amongst the Antarctic population are members of the South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP) who work out of the SANEA IV base. This research station is located over 4000 km south of Cape Town in Vesleskarvet, which is about 160 km from the edge of the ice shelf. South Africa has had a presence in the Antarctic for over 50 years now, and SANAE IV was completed in 1997.”
“Diverse and ground-breaking research has been and continues to be undertaken by SANAP, including into the fields of oceanography, biology, geology, geomorphology and renewable energy. SANSA uses the base for research too.”
“The data [from XinaBox kit] is being fed directly to an IoT platform from where participating schools can view real-time updates and mirror the experimental data in their classrooms using the exact same hardware. We have barely started mining this data: there is so much to learn! And as the data set grows over time we expect all sorts of interesting trends and correlations to emerge, offering a wealth of learning opportunities for students young and old.”
This quarter records a couple of milestones for the Cape Town-based company following the successful launch to the International Space Station of its XK92 Quest for Space ISS Mission Kit on 18 February on board a Northrop Grumman Antares powered resupply mission to the ISS.
In essence, XinaBox has proven its technology in space and Antarctica. What is next in the company’s checklist remains to be seen: Mars, Moon? Maybe!
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.