The South African National Space Agency (SANSA)

Our space agency (SANSA) was first launched on 9 December 2010 – but South Africa has a rich history of space tradition – dating as fat back as 1950 with the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory.  It has been operational since 1957 and has 12 Chalk River neutron monitors.  This is now the Space Science Directorate, one of three of SANSA’s directorates.
The other two SANSA directorates are:
  • The former Satellite Aplication Centre in Hartebeeshoek, now the Space Operations Directorate
  • Earth observation Directorate.  It is based in Pretoria and serves as the corporate office of SANSA
  • Space Engineering, which is that latest addition to the Agency Program and also based in Pretoria
So there you have it: South Africa has a space agency – but what do they actually do?  Well quite a lot actually.  I had the privilege of talking to Vaneshree Maharaj a few weeks ago.  Vaneshree is the Corporate Communications Manager of SANSA and I was blown away by how many projects SANSA is involved in – including some she couldn’t divulge too much information on (mysterious!).
SANSA provides state-of-the-art ground station facilities and services.  These include satellite tracking, telemetry and command, as well as launch support, in-orbit testing, mission control and space navigation.  The space agency has the objective to be a leading ground station on the African continent.

Earth Observation (EO)

The Earth Observation (EO) program is responsible for coordinating the EO efforts of the South Africa to benefit all citizens.  This is done by collecting, assimilating and disseminating EO data to support Government’s policy- and decision- making, economic growth and sustainable development initiatives.
The focus of space science is on basic and applied space science research and related services that contribute to national security and global space knowledge.  Space engineering is aimed at leading the space system and sub-system development activities whilst nurturing a local space engineering industry.

Space for National Development week

During the week of 12 – 15 March, SANSA co-hosted the ‘Space for National Development Week’ (#SNDweek) with the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Trade and Industry.  This took place at the space agency’s operations in Hartebeeshoek.

The aim was to to bring together the South African space sector and its stakeholders to present and discuss legislation, decisions, information and continued inclusion of high resolution imagery in the national satellite sensor portfolio.

Due to other commitments, I was unable to attend, but judging from the buzz on social media, it was a huge success.  Thank you Vaneshree and team for keeping me updated.  The photo below is from the event courtesy of SANSA:

Space Agency SND week 2018 attendees

Other Space Agency news

SANSA is actively involved in many projects outside their core focus.  Here are two recent examples of this:

More news to follow soonSA National Space Agency website header

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