The winner in the essay category is entitled to a trip, along with a parent/guardian, to Paris and to a launch site in French Guiana to witness a rocket blast into space in order to place a satellite into orbit. This is third win in the essay category for Uganda, following wins in 2011 and 2012 and making a tally of six previous winners, including runners-up in the poster category. The winner in the poster category will be rewarded with a trip, along with a parent/legal guardian, to visit the South African National Space Agency and MultiChoice facilities. The two winning schools attended by the overall winners will be rewarded with a DStv installation, including dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Package.
For the 7th edition, students from secondary (high) or combined schools were asked to write a creative essay or design a poster based on the topic: “It’s sixty years since the first satellite,
Sputnik, was launched, broadcasting a unique and easily captured ‘beep, beep, beep’ signal. Looking back at this historic moment, write an essay or design a poster depicting how satellites have launched humankind into the 21st Century and acted as a unifier.”
Paolo Nespoli, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, who returned for the fourth time as chairman of the jury, was assisted by a panel of industry experts that included Professor Funso Falade, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos; Mr. Michael Niyitegeka, Country Manager, ICDL Africa; Mr. Patrice Paquot, Deputy Regional Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat as well as Ms. Patricia Kiconco, Head of Operations, MultiChoice Uganda.
Commenting on the entries, Nespoli said: “The purpose of the competition was achieved! There were almost a thousand entries from young people across the continent and I believe all the students were exposed, involved and excited about science and technology, satellite technology in particular. The finalists showed an exceptional grasp of the subject matter along with a distinct use of creativity and ingenuity. We all were extremely impressed by the calibre of the work we had to judge. As a jury, we were challenged when we had to pick the winners: it was a mammoth task that took an entire day of intense discussions. If it were up to me I would have given the first prize to all the finalists.”
Keynote speaker at the awards ceremony, Mr. John Muyingo, Ugandan Minister for Higher education lauded DStv and Eutelsat.
“I take this opportunity to commend the DStv Eutelsat Star awards team for this initiative that has been held every year since its inception in 2011 and particularly for bringing Paolo Nespoli an astronaut and engineer of the European Space Agency. I would also like to recognise that he is the first astronaut to visit Uganda,” he said.
He added that Nespoli’s visit will inspire the students, especially those interested in the space industry and create hope among them that anything is possible.