Intelsat has graduated another group of students in the second year of its STEM partnership
with MaxIQ. Four groups of students from five African countries presented design concepts for
satellites supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on June 29.
Intelsat in coordination with MaxIQ (formerly Xinabox) provides students with the materials and
connectivity they need to develop satellite design solutions addressing their choice of the 17
U.N. SDGs. MaxIQ was developed to serve the space industry in education and skill
development, especially for young STEM students.
Established in 2015, The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals serve as a global call to action
that “provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and
into the future,” according to the U.N.
As part of Mission 1 of the space-focused learning experience, students attended weekly
workshops on Saturdays for four months, where they picked up skills to build into their projects.
“We are proud to partner with MaxIQ Space in Africa to build a pipeline of the next generation of satellite engineers,” Intelsat Sales Director for Africa Hans Geldenhuys said in his opening
remarks before the presentations. “Sparking this tech interest at such a young age inspires
future leaders who will soon lead the way with advancements that we would never dream
One group’s work, presented by Declan Saul, focused on Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Their satellite design solution proposed a plan to scan and rate every piece of land on four
factors: water availability, topography, resource availability, and health and climate.
Land segments would then get a score out of 100 regarding the land’s ability to support healthy
dense residential development, data that could be used to make crucial decisions to maximize
sustainable urban space in the future.
Another group presented a satellite concept aimed to address Taking Urgent Action to Combat
Climate Change. Their satellite idea, presented by group members Tafara Mutero, Ruby
McColloch, and Carine Mbokashanga, would utilize high-precision sensors to detect and
monitor the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, aiming to hold countries
accountable to previously agreed upon standards that can be hard to enforce.
Throughout the presentations, audience members from Intelsat and MaxIQ submitted questions for the groups, which were answered live by students at the end of the event.
The program nearly doubled in size in the past year, with 31 students sponsored for Mission 1
this year compared to 16 last year. Mission 2 builds upon the experience from Mission 1 to take
data collection to space. Intelsat sponsored nine students for Mission 2 last year and aims to
include more as the program moves forward this year.
Year three of the STEM partnership will be announced in late Fall 2022.