A media collective called Kloop Media in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Republic in Central Asia, has started a Cubesat programme exclusively for Kyrgyz girls and women.
Kloop Media started the programme in an effort to address widespread discrimination, misogyny, and even physical abuse against women in Kyrgyzstan by raising awareness and demonstrating the skills, intelligence, and work ethic of Kyrgyz women.
“We are sick of the discrimination of girls, girls and women in Kyrgyzstan. We are sick of the fact that in many families girls are brought up as servicemen. We are fed up with the fact that many girls in Kyrgyzstan are being abducted, raped, and then forced to live with a rapist, calling him “husband”…[W]e are fed up with tens of thousands of stories of horrifying injustice towards women,” Kloop Media said on their website.
Kloop Media believe that by building a Cubesat, Kyrgyz women can create a new narrative about themselves in the eyes of their fellow citizens and around the world:
“But what can be done in response? We wanted to create an environment in which a group of girls truly create a story. And at the same time it will break all possible stereotypes and cliches, inspire the other girls of Kyrgyzstan (and maybe the whole world) to embody their most fantastic dreams…[W]e want the girls who build the first Kyrgyz satellite to become role models for all the young people of our beautiful country.”
Kloop Media have gained the cooperation of a Lithuanian NewSpace company, Nano Avionics, who have already built their own Cubesat and who now specialize in manufacturing propulsion capabilities for small satellites.
The Cubesat programme set up by Kloop Media and NASA employee Alex McDonald, who also inspired the creation of Lithuania’s Nano Avionics, also has the ambition to start a Kyrgyz national space programme. While the US space agency cannot provide financial support, it can mentor the Kloop effort with advice, expertise, and access to a global network of engineers and scientists who might also help.
As for the purpose and function of the Kyrgyz Cubesat programme, Kloop Media are disarmingly honest when they state that the Cubesat will be, “[N]othing so complicated as not to increase its cost. Actually, we had a couple of ideas, what we could do, but it would be much better if the idea was eventually invented by the girls themselves.”
“Therefore, the answer is simple – we do not yet know exactly what it will do. But this is not so important. The first satellite in the history of the country should not be too complicated. (As it was not, for example, the first complicated companion in the history of mankind.),” the Kloop Media website said.
To fund the Cubesat programme, Kloop Media have started a crowdfunding campaign on Patreon.