South Africa to Step Up Aerospace Technology Development

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
South Africa to step up aerospace technology development

South Africa President Motlanthe has signed a bill recently that approved the establishment of the National Space Agency to be responsible for the overall planning and implementation of national space technology projects. The move is in accordance with its developments in fields such as satellite launches and astronomical observations, indicating that the country is vigorously promoting the development of aerospace science and technology.

Minister of South African Science and Technology Mangena said in an interview recently, South Africa National Space Agency had closely collaborated with South Africa Space Affairs Commission, to integrate research strengths in South African space field, making it be the leader in aerospace science and technology in Africa.

He said, South Africa National Space Agency would carry out researches on astronomical observations, earth observations, communications, navigations and space physics. The National Space Agency would also promote the peaceful use of space and international space cooperation, to enhance South Africa's science, engineering and technology skills.

South Africa is the most powerful country in economy and high technology on the African continent. During the late 1980s to early 1990s, it had drafted and implemented a relatively comprehensive space technology development plan, but this plan was forced to dismount later due to various reasons.

In 2009, the second national self-developed satellite launched into space. This low orbit earth observation satellite was used to monitor natural disasters and study food security, health, infrastructure development, land observation and water resource management, and other fields. It also plans to work with Algeria and Nigeria to start the "African resources management satellites plan".

In addition, the country is trying to become a major international astronomical observation and research base. The largest telescope in the southern hemisphere was completed and ran for several years in South Africa.

The government is also seeking to win a large international radio telescope observation project, which will help astronomers study some basic questions about the origin and evolution of the universe.

Mangena said that the formation of National Space Agency had finished. The agency will ensure the implementation of South African strategic plan on construction of satellites and astronomical observations and constructions. He pointed out that the country would give priority to the development of satellite communication systems and low orbital launch vehicle technology. It had signed agreements with Russia Space Agency, European Space Agency and NASA to enhance cooperations in space research and promote aerospace science and technology development of the country.


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