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The collaboration will allow WhiteHat Jr students to send commands to a satellite operating in space, and also access data from it.
Indian edtech startup WhiteHat Jr will be providing students with an opportunity to learn about space through a multi-year partnership with Bulgarian spacetech startup EnduroSat, WhiteHat Jr announced in a press release yesterday.
Through this agreement, WhiteHat Jr students will have access to satellites developed by EnduroSat. EnduroSat provides nano satellites, or nanosats, and space services for business, exploration, and science teams across industries.
EnduroSat will launch a dedicated nanosat for WhiteHat Jr students in December this year as part of the agreement. WhiteHat Jr students will also have access to another satellite on a trial basis that is scheduled to launch in June 2021, the statement noted.
With this partnership, WhiteHat Jr students will be able to send commands to the satellite, as well as access its data, the press release stated. It added that students will be able to analyze data from over 30 sensors onboard each satellite, such as infrared sensors, temperature sensors, sun sensors, and gyroscopes.
They will also be able to control the satellite cameras, allowing them to take pictures of space objects and relay messages to and fro, the statement added.
Besides this, students will be able to participate in different ways of organizing space data on WhiteHat Jr’s payload computer. This will have a direct link to the main computer onboard the satellite.
Both satellites will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare, it added. SpaceX’s rideshare is equivalent to an Uber rideshare for space — different companies hitch a ride on a single rocket for delivery of their satellites and payloads, and split the cost.
“This marks the first mission where a partner is fully dedicated to advancing the education of children from an early age,” EnduroSat Founder and CEO Raycho Raychev said. “EnduroSat has long advocated for space education to be democratized and made available to everyone through our own Spaceport Academy.”
“We hope that the mission will inspire a new generation of space enthusiasts and are excited at the prospect of sharing it with thousands of kids,” he added.
WhiteHat Jr Founder and CEO Karan Bajaj said, “We have always believed in the power of creation through exploration. This partnership is a testament to our mission of enabling kids to think beyond the obvious and aim for the stars, quite literally.”
He added that the startup is in the process of involving multiple strategic and corporate partners to popularize this learning opportunity across the globe. The coding platform currently has 5.5 million registered students and 11,000 teachers, according to its website.
The news comes as a highlight for WhiteHat Jr, after a stretch of bad publicity and controversies. For instance, the startup was accused by rival coding platform Tekie of using unethical tactics to understand and duplicate its teaching process.
WhiteHat Jr was also asked to take down its ads by the Advertising Standard Council of India after it received multiple complaints. Further, the startup has received backlash for silencing critics on social media.
At the same time, WhiteHat Jr is also making its way through an ongoing edtech boom in India. According to Redseer, the K12 segment of the edtech market in India is a lucrative opportunity, estimated to grow 7X, from $265 million in 2019 to $1.7 billion by 2022.
Further, the pandemic created an unprecedented surge in remote learning across the world and India has been no exception. In 2020, Indian edtech startups bagged over US$2.2 billion in funding — more than what they raised between 2014 and 2019. WhiteHat Jr’s parent company Byju’s alone accounted for $1.35 billion of this funding. This week, Byju’s raised another $460 million, pegging its valuation at over $13 billion, and further cementing its place as a behemoth in the Indian edtech landscape.
Header image courtesy of NASA on Unsplash