While many ni-Vanuatu children can only wonder whether the moving light in the sky at night is a satellite or an aircraft, a ni-Vanuatu University of the South Pacific student will soon get up close to not only a satellite but the factory where rockets and satellites are made.
Mariah Nasak, a bright Vanuatu student is about to have a once-in-a-lifetime tour inside the Boeing Satellite factory and the SpaceX rocket factory in Los Angeles, United States of America.
Ms Nasak is going on the trip around September this year after winning a writing competition that she entered when she was attending Central School.
Her essay described how high speed internet will benefit herself, her family and her community. The competition was run by private satellite company, Kacific.
The company provides affordable internet to telecommunications businesses and internet service providers in Pacific Island nations.
Their satellite, named Kacific1, is in the final stages of construction, and Mariah and her younger sister will fly to America to visit the factories in September 2019.
Nasak says this trip to see the factory that is building the rocket that will launch a satellite is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“It is very exciting to even think about it and not every day will a simple Pacific islander such as myself can fly out to the United States of America to witness such a thing.
“My deepest gratitude goes out to Central School first and foremost for always pushing and giving its students opportunities that become life changing and eye openers.
“One thing that I appreciate from Central School is its ability to see the potential in students and pushing them to reach that potential and I will forever be grateful for that.
“In addition to that, a huge shout out and gratitude to my English teacher, Mrs Matal Bongtou, for pushing me to write a simple 300-word essay that I did not know was going to be entered into a competition, hence my opportunity to go on this trip.
”Thanks to my mom for helping me with the ideas for the essay and encouraging me to go submit the essay.
“I would also like to thank Mr Jaques Samuel from Kacific Broadband Satellites Ltd for always following up with me and keeping communications with me over these past few years that has led up to this trip coming to be and a huge thank you to Kacific Broadband Satellites Ltd for making this trip possible.
“My encouragement to all students, have courage and go outside your comfort zone and find opportunities to enhance your understanding of the world outside of our little Vanuatu.
“There is so much more that the world has to offer. Stay in school!
“I would also like to use this opportunity to showcase Vanuatu to the world. Showcase the capacity that my country has and the type of people it has and will continue to produce and develop, we are more than just our friendly smile.
Asked about her feeling to likely be the first young ni-Vanuatu to see a satellite up close, Nasak reiterated that this is an exciting opportunity.
“It is exciting.
“If I am one of the first ni-Vanuatu to see something like that then that is historic.
“My overall feeling would be excitement,” she said.
Mariah Nasak is studying a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in international business and marketing and finance at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.
Kacific, a Vanuatu registered company that brands itself as a next-generation wholesale broadband satellite operator, is promising affordable and high speed internet for all islands of Vanuatu once its satellite, Kacific-1 is in orbit and fully operational in 2019.
But while the Kacific1 is still under construction by Boeing Satellite Systems International in its Los Angeles manufacturing facility, Vanuatu is already benefitting from the internet services of Kacific, through schools and health clinics in the Vanuatu Interisland Telemedicine and Learning (VITAL) Network. Kacific not only registered in Vanuatu but has also opened an office here.