Watch: Young women aim to build Kyrgyzstan's first satellite

Watch: Young women aim to build Kyrgyzstan's first satellite
By Naira DavlashyanLauren Chadwick
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Nineteen-year-old Alina Anisimova is leading a team of young women to build Kyrgyzstan's first satellite.


Young girls in Kyrgyzstan are aiming to build the country's first satellite before the end of 2020.

Alina Anisimova, 19, is directing a team of young women who call themselves Kyrgyzstan's "Space Programme".

Their youngest member is just 14-years-old.

Anisimova gives instructions to her team members, confidently directing the girls who are working on a miniature satellite called a CubeSat that can be as small as 10 cubic centimetres.

These satellites are typically developed by large companies, universities or amateur researchers, and the construction can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. The program heads have to apply for grant funding.

They also have a crowdfunding page to help support the effort. The project was started by a local media company in March of last year after meeting a NASA employee.

The girls had to learn programming, 3D modelling and soldering for the project.

Aydana, a 19-year-old former engineering student, has been working with the space project for a year. She's trying to use her new expertise to fix her headphones too.

"I’ve been waiting for this training for a very long time. I think I’m doing well. It’s not that difficult," she said.

"We don’t want to stop at launching just one satellite. We’re going to achieve more," Alina Anisimova told Euronews.

Opportunities for women

The young women also hope to draw attention to the plight of women in Kyrgyzstan.

The Central Asian country ranked 86th globally for gender equality in the 2018 World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap report.

Twelve per cent of girls in the country are married before their 18th birthday, according to the global partnership Girls Not Brides, and astonishingly an estimated 20% of marriages in the country begin with the bride being kidnapped, according to UN Women.

"Most of all I want to inspire young women who don't have opportunities or who were prohibited from doing what they like to do," Anisimova said.

"We decided to give the women a fresh start with this project," Kyzjibek Batyrkanova, the 24-year-old group administrator. "We want them to choose education and a career so that they understand they have a choice."

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