South Africa, 1 Aug 2006: South Africa’s second low earth orbiting satellite, to be launched in Russia later this year, has been named Sumbandila. The name Sumbandila was chosen among more than 3 000 entries received in the national competition which was opened to all learners from Grade 7 to Grade 12. The 80kg micro satellite that will rotate the earth at a 500km height is part of an integrated national space programme developed by government to provide the country with affordable access to space technology and data.
Role players include the University of Stellenbosch, SunSpace and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Application Centre. The university manages the project, trains postgraduate students and conducts research of satellite engineering and software development.
SunSpace builds the micro space while CSIR will be responsible for operating, tracking and monitoring it. Academics have described the satellite as a tool to support, monitor and manage disasters such as floods, oil spills and fires.