By Quinten van Woerkom (Secretary)

Nearly exactly a year ago, I could proudly announce that I was part of the ‘Da Vinci Satellite’ core team for this year. Honestly, this prospect was terrifying: while I knew almost everyone I would be working with, I was totally unfamiliar with inner workings of the project itself. For that same reason, I was excited: there was so much to learn! I still remember my first introduction to the project. There were a lot of partners, so many team members, so much enthusiasm, and maybe even more roadblocks to making this project a success. How could I ever deal with all of that without making a mess of it?

To manage all this, I had to learn. A lot. I had to learn how to grow an organisation from 30 to 60 students. How to connect a team that couldn’t meet each other face-to-face. How to show people the way when you can’t find it yourself. How to convince partners that it really is possible for students to launch a satellite, how ludicrous it may sound. Luckily, I had a great team behind me, to help me and to teach me. I am proud to say that I managed. Or at least, the team did for me.

I am amazed what the ‘Da Vinci Satellite’ team has been able to achieve in this time. The technical team is now starting with the first testing of our satellite. A clear vision is being established of the educational modules, to be worked out next year. What I’m most proud of, perhaps, is that the project is financially healthier than ever. We have the support of more industry partners than ever, of the FAST fund, and most importantly, of the public, in terms of the crowdfunding. I was so overwhelmed when I saw that we raised our crowdfunding goal, I will never forget that. It represents the belief of so many people that we have been working on something worthwhile.

Our team has created something to be proud of. We really are launching a satellite, and we really will be reaching the classrooms. With those thoughts in mind, I am comfortable leaving the project to a new team, as I will have to focus on my studies again next year. A talented team, as I know. I am particularly curious as to the progress they will surely make on the educational side of the project, now that we have the means to focus on that. Next year more than ever, we will be elevating education!