South Africa unveils National Space Agency

South Africa unveils National Space Agency


Johannesburg, South Africa: With an aim to be a leader in earth observation in Africa in next 10 years, South Africa unveiled its National Space Agency (SANSA), according to Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology. Pandor said, “We believe the launch of SANSA will stimulate investment and the local scientific research sector.”

The agency, which already has two micro-satellites, will produce timely data imagery to help detect natural disasters and monitor water resources around South Africa and the continent, Pandor added.

The new agency, which aims to bring together previously un-allied experts in the field, will also seek to revive several space facilities that were mothballed in the 1990’s during apartheid rule. It will be fully operationally only in April 2012, according to a government official.

The agency’s interim chief executive Sandile Malinga estimated that it would cost South Africa approximately ZAR 600 million (USD 86.7 million) a year to run the agency.

“These are conservative figures. Our satellites will be built here at home using local expertise. We are hoping that will help reduce cost,” said Malinga.

South Africa joins Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt among African countries which already have active space agencies.

Source: Space Travel