South Africa: South Africa and Russia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaboration in the area of earth observation. Dr Sandile Malinga, Chief Executive of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and Professor Alex Perminov, President of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), signed the MoU.
The Department of Science and Technology, South Africa, said that the MoU allows for South Africa and Russia, to collaborate through joint initiatives in the area of earth observation and also in other important areas of space science and technology. It paves the way for South Africa to access historic Russian satellite data collected over southern Africa, thus complimenting and adding to the richness of archived satellite imagery.
Highlighting the importance of the MoU, Malinga pointed out that it would benefit remote sensing applications geared towards addressing South Africa’s socio-economic problems that rely on the use of such datasets. “This initiative will certainly help bolster our extensive archive of satellite imagery collected over the Southern African Development Community region and facilitate the development of human capital in South Africa,” Malinga said.
Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, said, “Striking international partnerships of this nature bode well for South Africa’s standing and positioning in the global space arena and, on the regional front, place us as leaders in the strategic area of remote sensing.”
Naledi Pandor also revealed South Africa’s ambition to enter the space launch business and Cabinet in February approved the acquisition of a majority stake in the Sun Space and Information Systems company that built the R26 million, 81kg Sumbandilasat low-earth orbit earth observation satellite for Pador’s department.