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Areas of Science

We are open to suggestions in any field of science. Here are some of the fields that are currently very active in space research and space science:

1. Biotechnology

This combines elements of microbiology, proteomics, genomics, technology to address such diverse fields as disease control (cancer, AIDS), medicine design and testing, environmental care, waste management and quality of life improvement.

2. Earth Sciences

Space provides a unique platform from which to study the complex interactions of Earth's environment. We can study pollution, deforestation, agriculture, climatology, global warming, species migration, and other aspects of man's interaction with the planet.

2.1 Oceanography

From space we can observe the oceans and assess a wide variety of factors such as the movement of ocean currents, bioproductivity, plankton production, fish populations, iceberg formation and the interaction of weather with the oceans.

2.2 Geophysics

From space we can observe large-scale physical processes on earth, such as volcanic activity, tectonic plate movement, atmospheric chemistry and the impact of mankind on the planet

3. Biomedical Research

In space it is possible to identify and isolate some unique characteristics of human physiology and biology. We can study some of these factors with unprecedented accuracy in a microgravity environment to assess such things as the effectiveness of human adaptation to space flight, and the ways in which genetics affect our metabolism


In space we can observe the universe around us without the effects of atmospheric interference. Space telescopes and other space-based cosmological experiments are pushing back the frontiers of knowledge about the fundamental laws and history of the universe.

5. Technology

The unique properties of space (near-perfect vacuum, microgravity, constant radiation) provide an environment for advanced technological research in materials design, crystal production, fluid physics and other cutting edge areas of science

Equipment Constraints

Designing a space experiment is a challenging exercise! There are many technical constraints on the nature of the equipment that can be used, the timing of the experiment during the flight, the weight and size of any equipment or specimens, the chemical and biological composition of any samples to be carried to and from the ISS, electromagnetic emissions, and so on.

In particular:

  1. It should be possible to conduct the experiment using scientific equipment already on the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2002. Further details regarding the equipment can be investigated on
  2. Any additional equipment that needs to be taken to the ISS must be fully declared and specified by 30 September 2001. The equipment will need to pass a rigorous certification process. If such equipment is needed to conduct the experiment then it should preferably consist of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware that is available for sale in an ISS partner country.


Mark will cover the cost of the experiments and donate the results of the science into the public domain. However, this will impact on the selection of experiments to keep within the overall project budget. If you are able to contribute towards the cost of the equipment, design, implementation, processing and analysis of the experiment then you will improve the chances of having your experiment fly to the ISS. To a certain extent, we can draw on the expertise of Russian scientists who have designed and built the science equipment on the ISS, which will reduce the costs of experiment design and implementation where they use existing equipment.


Proposals must be submitted by the scientific community by no later than 28 September 2001. All proposals will be appraised by the Selection Panel consisting of Mark Shuttleworth and leading academics during w/c 24 September, and successful bids will be announced on 5 October 2001.

All Bids must be submitted to:

First African in Space

Project Manager: Barak Geffen.

c/o Interactive Africa, 3 Port Road, V&A Waterfront , Cape Town

Tel: +27-21- 4186666 / fax +27-21-418 6333

Mobile: +27- 82 - 600 8522

Landing Countdown to 05:51 05 May

Landing Complete!

The Team
Mark Shuttleworth
Dale Cupido
Karen Sharwood
Lara Keytel
Danie Barry
Freddy Khan
Vaughan Oosthuizen
Ravi Naidoo
Vuyo Dwane
Richard Mills
Nicolette Cronje
Wayne Derman
Peter Ribton
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