A group of students from Burundi have made history by launching a paper rocket into space. The students, who are part of a science club at a local high school, built the rocket using recycled paper, cardboard, glue and duct tape. They also used a homemade fuel made of sugar and potassium nitrate.
The students said they were inspired by the recent achievements of SpaceX and Blue Origin, and wanted to prove that anyone can explore space with limited resources and creativity. They said they spent months designing and testing their rocket, which they named “Burundi-1”.
The rocket was launched from a field near the school, with the help of a wooden ramp and a bicycle pump. The students said they attached a small camera and a GPS tracker to the rocket, which reached an altitude of about 100 kilometers, crossing the Karman line that defines the boundary of space.
The students said they were able to recover the rocket and the camera, which recorded stunning images of the Earth’s curvature and the blackness of space. They said they were overjoyed and proud of their accomplishment, and hoped to inspire other young people in Africa and around the world to pursue their dreams of space exploration.
The students’ feat has attracted international attention and praise, with many experts and celebrities congratulating them on their achievement. NASA has invited them to visit its headquarters in Washington, D.C., where they will meet with astronauts and engineers. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has also offered to sponsor their next project, which the students said will be a paper satellite.