The first African citizen to fly to space will launch in April 2002. Mark
Shuttleworth, a South African entrepreneur, will stake Africa’s claim to the
21st Century in space by joining a multinational crew of astronauts and
cosmonauts in a joint program of science and media activities on the
International Space Station (ISS).

“I have always dreamed of space as a platform for inspiration, education and
technology, and am working to realize that dream for South Africa,”
Shuttleworth says.

He is currently undergoing training as a cosmonaut at Star City, outside
Moscow, and will be a fully certified member of the Soyuz crew, responsible
for some Soyuz systems during the flight. Shuttleworth will conduct several
scientific experiments while in space, in collaboration with South African
and Russian researchers, as well as participating in a national media
campaign focusing on the global digital divide and the importance of
mathematics and science education.

This initiative will provide a major boost to the South African National
Education Strategy for Science and Mathematics and its efforts to attract
South African students to high technology careers. It will provide an
opportunity for South African scientists to conduct scientific experiments
in the unique environment of weightlessness and microgravity. It will also
focus national attention on South Africa’s budding space technology research
program at the Houwteq Institute for Space and Software Applications and
other local institutions. But most importantly, it will reach out to people
of all ages across the African continent and challenge them to reach for
their own dreams.

“I believe that Africa will emerge as a vibrant and successful global
economic power this century, and I hope that our first foray into space
helps people across the continent imagine ways in which they can participate
in that success. We must address the complex issues that face the continent,
many of which are rooted in the past, but we must also never lose sight of
the future that we are building” said Shuttleworth.

“This is the realization of a personal dream, a dream that started at the
tip of Africa. I hope it will inspire many of my fellow Africans, of all
ages, to believe in the power of their dreams.”


Ravi Naidoo

Interactive Africa

Managing Director

Cell: +27 82 990 0561


Andrew High



Tel: +27 21 970 1010

Cell: +27 82 873 1307