Congratulations on the successful launch of TshepisoSat (Code name ZA-CUBE1) - South Africa's first cubesat!
SA's first nano-satellite, code named ZACUBE-1, designed and built by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) postgraduate students to monitor space weather, took off today from the Yasny Launch Base in Russia, on top of a RS-2OB Dnepr rocket. The tiny 1,2kg cube will travel 6-billion kilometres in space before re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere
Funded by the South African Department of Science & Technology, the nano-satellite was designed and built by CPUT postgraduate students participating in the Satellite Systems Engineering Programme at the French South African Institute of Technology (F'SATI) in Bellville, in collaboration with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). ZACUBE-1 has also received its official licence from the South African Council for Space Affairs (SACSA) and will now be included in South Africa's national register of space assets.
ZACUBE-1 will orbit earth up to 15 times a day at an altitude of 600km. "The launch of ZACUBE-1 marks a momentous achievement in the technology landscape of this country through the development of new and necessary skills and knowledge that will play a significant part in moving us toward a sought after knowledge economy," said SANSA CEO, Dr. Sandile Malinga, who was speaking at CPUT's Bellville campus today, where students and guests witnessed the launch (at 9.10am South African time), from the Yasny launch base, located in the Orenburg Region, Russia, via a live audio-feed.
"This new satellite will enable data gathering on space weather for SANSA which is integral to the understanding and monitoring of solar activity during this period of solar maxima," he added. "This is a phenomenon that can have critical implications to the functionality of our technology and electrical power system on Earth as well as the operation of satellites."