The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established in 2010. Following a period of rapid growth and transition the agency has made significant advancements towards addressing its mandate of deriving greater value from space science and technology for the benefit of South African society.

Final manoeuvres on NASA's LADEE performed from SA ground station

on . Posted in SANSA Space Operations News

LADEE

An artist's concept of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft seen orbiting near the surface of the moon.

Image Credit: NASA Ames/Dana Berry 

Hartebeesthoek, 25 April 2014. It has been confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the Moon on 17 April 2014, following a number of final manoeuvres performed from the South African National Space Agency's (SANSA) Hartebeesthoek station.

"We have been supporting this mission since the date of launch," says Tiaan Strydom, International Business Manager at SANSA Space Operations. "Our team played an important role in providing various TT&C support services to the probe since launch in September 2013, with this coming to an end as the final manoeuvres were executed together with other ground stations, tasking the probe to deorbit," explains Strydom. This placed the LADEE into a trajectory to impact the far side of the moon.

How can you be sure where you are?

on . Posted in SANSA Space Operations News

Eugene compressedScientists and engineers at SANSA Space Operations are working on a South African version of a much more accurate satellite navigation system.

Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) typically use multiple ground stations at a precisely-surveyed location to take measurements from orbiting navigation satellites. This brings better accuracy, integrity, continuity and availability to a navigation system.

"To put it simply, navigation satellites tell you where you are, but an SBAS system confirms the information is correct and safe for functions such as landing planes in bad weather and operating vehicles without drivers," says Eugene Avenant, Chief Engineer at SANSA Space Operations.

Europe's SBAS system, known as EGNOS, was certified in March 2011 after ten years of effort.

There was talk for a few years of extending EGNOS to South Africa, but a technical review showed there was little benefit because Europe and South Africa does not see the same constellation of navigation satellites at any one time resulting in poor performance for the South African extension.

"We concluded that it was better to build our own and to share it with other neighbouring African states," Avenant says. By borrowing from the technology and experience of EGNOS, South Africa hopes to have an enhanced satellite navigation system in place by 2020.

 

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