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.

Ionospheric Monitoring in Africa Workshop

on . Posted in SANSA Space Science News

Bath workshopSANSA Space Science hosted the 2013 Ionospheric Monitoring in Africa Workshop, 24 – 25 January 2013.  The workshop brought together scientists from various European and African countries in an effort to highlight the current state of Africa's ground-based ionospheric monitoring network.

The ionosphere (a region of our atmosphere extending from an altitude of about 50 km to about 1000 km) affects lives in diverse ways, ranging from its usefulness in High Frequency (HF) radio propagation, to its weakening of radio signals that have to pass through it. The ionosphere affects modern technologies such as communications, navigation systems and surveillance systems.  In order to minimise these effects it is vital to gain an in-depth understanding of the ionosphere.

Scientists are currently in the process of mapping the ionosphere above the African region which will provide a number of benefits to its users.  The workshop addressed various challenges in developing the infrastructure required in putting together this map.

The map, in the form of a computer program, will show a multi-dimensional representation of the ionosphere for a given set of geophysical parameters. "We have now identified a number of gaps and areas where instruments exist but the data from which is not yet being shared. This data goes hand in hand with the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) model and once made accessible will be extremely beneficial."  said Dr Patrick Sibanda of the Department of Physics in Zambia. By increasing general ionospheric knowledge above lesser known areas, use of the ionosphere can be greatly enhanced, and significant allowance can be made for the affects ionospheric behaviour has on radio signals.

In support of this project, the workshop was funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) under the General Studies Programme.  Dr Julian Rose from the University of Bath, UK noted the challenges faced in conducting research in Africa and said "Europe recognises the importance of this project and we are identifying areas across Africa in need of additional Global Positioning System receivers, to build a better picture of the ionosphere."


Final SATSA training workshop held in Madrid

on . Posted in SANSA Space Operations News

SATSA trainingSince the beginning of the year, the Madrid-based company GMV has been collaborating with SANSA to increase the technological satellite-navigation capacity (GNSS) in South Africa. Ahead of the extension to this region of the European navigation system EGNOS, GMV is leading the SBAS Awareness and Training for South Africa (SATSA) project which forms part of the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme (FP7).

The fourth training session, given over to SBAS Operations, Maintenance and Service Provision; was held on the 13th and 14th of November 2012 at the AENA's ESSP Operations Centre at the Torrejon Air Force base near Madrid. The training was organised by GMV and focused on operations, maintenance and service provision including training lectures from ESSP staff. The training addressed topics such as EGNOS services, performance, roadmap NOTAM and the LPV implementation status in Europe. Representing SANSA Space Operations, Eugene Avenant and Farhad Hassim attended the training.

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