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.

SANSA to support radio astronomy infrastructure in Africa

on . Posted in SANSA Space Operations News

RadioAstronFollowing the signing of the RadioAstron space satellite agreement between the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) at the 5th BRICS Summit held in Durban this year, SANSA will be responsible for the installation, operations and maintenance of the receiving antennae.

The RadioAstron satellite was launched on 18 July 2011 and carries a radio telescope that will obtain images and coordinates of various radio-emitting objects. As a single, virtual telescope, it will be the world's largest radio telescope, with a "dish" measuring approximately 390 000 km. The mission has an expected lifetime of five years and will support and improve investment in radio astronomy infrastructure in Africa and complement radio astronomy facilities such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), enhancing the continent's reputation as a premier destination for radio astronomy.

Earth-Directed CME Expected to Arrive 19 May 2013

on . Posted in SANSA Space Science News

Hermanus, South Africa, 18-05-2013

Regional Space Weather Warning Centre at the Space Science Directorate of the South African National Space Agency.

A minor (G1) geomagnetic storm is in progress following a coronal mass ejection (CME) detected during the early hours of 18 May. Active region 1748 erupted with a M-class solar flare accompanied by another Earth-directed CME. The CME is expected to impact the Earth's magnetic field around 1400 UTC on 19 May. This may cause disturbed geomagnetic conditions and will be monitored by the South African National Space Agency.

A CME is a massive cloud of hydrogen ions ejected from the surface of the Sun when stored energy is suddenly released.  The CME produces a cloud of high energy particles traveling at supersonic speeds (500-2000 km per second).

The effects of a CME will not harm humans and other life forms on Earth as we are protected by the Earth's magnetic field, but it can cause disturbances to our satellite communication systems like GPS, radio communications, cell phones and DStv.  Only minor disturbances are expected at this stage.

Today's image of the Sun shows sunspot AR1748 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

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