SA looking at global partnerships focusing on space exploration and innovation

South Africa remains committed to fostering the peaceful use of the outer space environment, said Trade and Industry deputy minister Bulelani Magwanishe, who delivered an address at the 61st session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS) on Wednesday (20 June).

Magwanishe said that South Africa is committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer-space activities, and is keen on developing global partnerships in the space arena.

“South Africa has keen interest in global partnerships concerning space exploration and innovation, and will continue to prioritise this area for economic development, as Africa’s economy is increasingly becoming space-dependent,” he said.

“Space related products have proven to contribute to the alleviation of key societal challenges that are still plaguing the continent and other developing countries,” said the deputy minister.

Magwanishe confirmed South Africa’s endorsement of the Draft UNISPACE+50 Resolution for the development of the 2030 Space Agenda and further affirmed that South Africa will continue to spearhead regional and international co-operation.

He added that the space agencies of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) countries are expected to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation on BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation, which will be signed in South Africa in July 2018.

The United Arab Emirates Space Agency and South African National Space Agency are also expected to sign a MoU regarding cooperation in the exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes.

Cube satellite

In April, the Department of Science and Technology sent Africa’s largest and most advanced cube satellite to India from where it where it is expected to be launched in July.

The 4kg ZACUBE-2 was developed by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI), and is the second nano-satellite to be developed at the university.

“The 10 x 10 x 10 x 30 cm satellite will track boats along South Africa’s coasts and proactively detect forest fires through an imager payload developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR),” it said.

Read: Government exploring new satellite technology to expand network coverage

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SA looking at global partnerships focusing on space exploration and innovation