Astronomy startup Unistellar aiming to have its telescopes in Sub-Saharan Africa soon

Humankind has been staring up at the stars for millennia and in recent years the interest in space travel has increased significantly. With more and more eyes looking upward, astronomy startup Unistellar is aiming to play a vital role in empowering people’s interest.

To that end, the startup is looking to grow, expanding its reach to new regions across the globe, including Sub-Saharan Africa.

In fact, the company’s eVscope 2 telescope is set to land in Kenya with a customer soon, with plans in place to enter several more territories soon.

The startup, which leverages AWS technology in order to power its app and functionality of its telescopes, founded their company in 2017 with the intention of making astronomy more accessible to people.

“A lot of people, including some of my colleagues, thought that I was wasting my time,” explained co-founder Franck Marchis, who also happen’s to be Unistellar’s chief scientific officer and senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute in California.

“We will have our first eVscope customer in Kenya soon. My dream is that one day we will have our telescopes across sub-Saharan Africa. This new astronomy really is an astronomy for everybody,” he enthused.

Currently the company has more than 7 000 customers across the world, with the majority found in North America, Europe and Japan. These customers form part of what Marchis describes as the, “biggest connected network of telescopes in the world.”

“We have thousands of telescopes working at the same time, in different locations. It means we can see an event from different angles. So, for an asteroid, we can get a sense of its shape because we’re not only observing it from one vantage point,” added another co-founder and CTO at Unistellar, Arnaud Malvache.

While the company is yet to officially launch in countries like South Africa, the increased local presence of AWS hopefully means there is at least one less barrier to entry here.

It remains to be seen how much a telescope like the eVscope 2 (featured below) would cost in SA if made available, but bringing them into the country would not hurt in fostering greater interest in astronomy as a STEM field.


About Author


Related News