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Science and Innovation on launch of South African nanosatellite constellation

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  This will further consolidate South Africa s position as an African leader in small satellite development and help the country capture a valuable part of a niche market PRETORIA South Africa January 13 2022 APO Group For the first time in South Africa s space industry three locally produced nanosatellites will launch into space today The first constellation of Maritime Domain Awareness Satellites MDASat 1 will be launched as part of the Transporter 3 mission of the US aerospace company SpaceX The launch is scheduled for January 13 2022 at 5 25 PM South Africa time from Cape Canaveral in the United States This is the latest estimated time and is subject to change depending on weather conditions South Africa s satellites will be launched aboard US aerospace company SpaceX s Falcon 9 rocket as a shared ride payload of the company s Transporter 3 or ISI Launch 36P mission and will be deployed in low Earth orbit at an altitude of 525 kilometers Transporter 3 SpaceX s third dedicated carpool mission will carry a total of 105 spacecraft including CubeSats microsats PocketQubes and orbital transfer vehicles The launch of MDASat 1 is an important milestone for South Africa as it marks the first launch of a fully developed constellation of satellites on the African continent Welcoming the event Minister for Higher Education Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande said that funding and support from the Department of Science and Innovation DSI to South Africa s satellite construction industry were giving its fruits This will further cement South Africa s position as an African leader in small satellite development and help the country capture a valuable part of a niche market in the rapidly growing global satellite value chain said Dr Nzimande The launch of the first three satellites in the MDASat constellation comes three years after the launch of the most advanced South African nanosatellite to date ZACube 2 as a technology demonstrator for the MDASat constellation Since its launch in 2018 ZACube 2 has provided state of the art very high frequency VHF data exchange communication systems to the country s maritime industry as a contribution to Operation Phakisa said Dr Nzimande and added that DSI had invested R27 million over three years in the development of the MDASat constellation DSI is implementing this work through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology CPUT Although South Africa has been involved on a relatively small scale in space activities since the dawn of the space age in 1957 the national space industry requires specialized skills The Minister noted that the lack of space professionals and engineers had led DSI and its entity the National Research Foundation NRF to initiate a human capital development program at the CPUT under the umbrella of the French Institute of Technology in South Africa F SATI satellite program CubeSat with the introduction of a Master of Electrical Engineering focused on satellite systems As part of this program students are taught engineering principles using CubeSats as training tools said Dr Nzimande CubeSats are built using the same engineering principles as any other satellite therefore highly specialized and advanced skills are acquired through this program The complete constellation of MDASat will be an operational constellation of nine cubic satellites that will detect identify and monitor vessels in near real time in support of awareness of South Africa s maritime domain SpaceX will host a live webcast of the launch at spacex com launches link is external The webcast will start 10 15 minutes before takeoff
Science and Innovation on launch of South African nanosatellite constellation

1 This will further consolidate South Africa‘s position as an African leader in small satellite development and help the country capture a valuable part of a niche market.

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2 PRETORIA, South Africa, January 13, 2022 / APO Group / –

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3 For the first time in South Africa’s space industry, three locally produced nanosatellites will launch into space today. The first constellation of Maritime Domain Awareness Satellites (MDASat-1) will be launched as part of the Transporter-3 mission of the US aerospace company SpaceX.

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5 The launch is scheduled for January 13, 2022 at 5:25 PM South Africa time from Cape Canaveral in the United States. This is the latest estimated time and is subject to change depending on weather conditions.

6 South Africa’s satellites will be launched aboard US aerospace company SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket as a “shared-ride payload” of the company’s Transporter-3 (or ISI Launch 36P) mission, and will be deployed in low-Earth orbit. at an altitude of 525 kilometers. Transporter-3, SpaceX’s third dedicated carpool mission, will carry a total of 105 spacecraft, including CubeSats, microsats, PocketQubes, and orbital transfer vehicles.

7 The launch of MDASat-1 is an important milestone for South Africa, as it marks the first launch of a fully developed constellation of satellites on the African continent.

8 Welcoming the event, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr. Blade Nzimande, said that funding and support from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to South Africa’s satellite construction industry were giving its fruits. “This will further cement South Africa’s position as an African leader in small satellite development and help the country capture a valuable part of a niche market in the rapidly growing global satellite value chain,” said Dr. Nzimande.

9 The launch of the first three satellites in the MDASat constellation comes three years after the launch of the most advanced South African nanosatellite to date, ZACube 2, as a technology demonstrator for the MDASat constellation.

10 “Since its launch in 2018, ZACube-2 has provided state-of-the-art very high frequency (VHF) data exchange communication systems to the country’s maritime industry, as a contribution to Operation Phakisa,” said Dr. Nzimande, and added that DSI had invested R27 million over three years in the development of the MDASat constellation. DSI is implementing this work through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

11 Although South Africa has been involved, on a relatively small scale, in space activities since the dawn of the space age in 1957, the national space industry requires specialized skills.

12 The Minister noted that the lack of space professionals and engineers had led DSI and its entity, the National Research Foundation (NRF), to initiate a human capital development program at the CPUT under the umbrella of the French Institute of Technology in South Africa. (F’SATI). satellite program (CubeSat), with the introduction of a Master of Electrical Engineering focused on satellite systems.

13 “As part of this program, students are taught engineering principles using CubeSats as training tools,” said Dr. Nzimande. “CubeSats are built using the same engineering principles as any other satellite, therefore highly specialized and advanced skills are acquired through this program.”

14 The complete constellation of MDASat will be an operational constellation of nine cubic satellites that will detect, identify and monitor vessels in near real time in support of awareness of South Africa’s maritime domain.

15 SpaceX will host a live webcast of the launch at spacex.com/launches(link is external). The webcast will start 10-15 minutes before takeoff.

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