FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hermanus, South Africa 20 April 2018 - The African region is set to derive even greater benefit from the recent upgrade to the South African National Space Agency's (SANSA) Space Weather Regional Warning Centre located in Hermanus in the Western Cape. Unveiled yesterday by South Africa's Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, this state-of-the-art facility is the only regional warning centre for Africa and integral to protecting satellites and the continent's national power grids and communications and navigation systems from the harmful effects of space weather.
"Extreme space weather storms are a risk that could endanger the economy, costing South Africa billions of Rands if not mitigated effectively" said SANSA CEO, Dr Val Munsami. "Governments in several countries, including the USA and UK, have recently listed space weather on their National Risk Registers".
Acknowledging the vital role of the SANSA Space Weather Centre in mitigating the disruption of electricity blackouts, satellite communications failures and commercial aviation services, the Minister also highlighted the significant role of space science in building economic development and stimulating R&D cooperation in building a knowledge economy.
An extreme space weather event or solar superstorm is a potentially high-impact, low-probability natural hazard. Due to a growing awareness of the potential consequences of extreme space weather, governments in numerous countries now consider this as an element of national risk assessment.