Breaking New Grounds – SANSA participated in the Space Frequency annual meeting in France

Each year, the Space Frequency Coordination Group (SFCG) holds its annual meeting. The 33rd edition was held in Toulouse, France, 25 June to 3 July 2013. SANSA's Yunus Bhayat attended the gathering.


Such meetings offer the best opportunity for face-to-face discussions and airing of opinions among knowledgeable people dedicated to secure the allocation of radio frequencies needed for safe and efficient space-to-earth and ground-to-space operations, and to prevent any radio frequency interference among the various space-based and terrestrial systems.

Frequency allocations are part of the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Radio Regulations that are developed and negotiated among national and international telecommunications authorities and eventually approved and promulgated at the World Radio Conference. Space Agencies from across the world comprising mostly developed countries have established the SFCG to coordinate their activities. The group was formed as early as 1979 during the General World Administrative Radio Conference. Last year the SANSA applied for membership and through the agency South Africa became a member of this very important and highly respected group.

What does a Proton Launch failure mean to SANSA Space Operations?

The Proton-M rocket failed to launch on 1 July 2013.  This is one of the main launch vehicles use for launching various satellites from many different suppliers.  This failure is going to have an impact on the SANSA Space Operations business, because some of the launches SANSA is contracted to do in 2013 are scheduled to be on  Proton launch vehicles.  Tiaan Strydom, Business evelopment Manager at Space Operations; "this is very concerning to us as business. We are observing with keen interest all the developments surrounding this failure. For now we are waiting to see if they are going to ground all the Proton launch vehicles and how the investigation is going to evolve," he explains.


Live video showed the Proton gyrating left and then right as it ascended off the pad before going horizontal, barrel rolling and falling into a nose dive. The front end of the rocket sheared away and the main stage erupted in a massive fireball before hitting the ground in a horrific explosion.

SANSA hosted the Department of Science and Technology as they celebrated Public Service Day

In 2001 the Pan African Conference of Ministers, declared 23 June as Africa Public Service Day (APSD). However, this year the 23rd of June fell on Sunday. The week that started on Monday June 24th saw public servants throughout South Africa embark on that special week.


Since its launch, the Public Service Week (PSW) brings public servants together to commemorate the value and virtue of service delivery improvement to the communities they serve. The aim of celebrating APSD is to recognise and set standards that would restore prestige and dignity to the public service and raise performance levels and competence in government.

On Thursday, 27 June 2013, two of SANSA’s directorates, Space Operations and Earth Observation welcomed dignitaries from Department of Science and Technology (DST) as well as 40 learners from three schools at the SANSA offices in Haartbeeshoek.

South Africa’s space future demands STEM subjects

Our Societies are dominated and even 'driven' by ideas and products from science and technology (S&T) and it is very likely that the influence of science and technology on our lives will continue to increase in the years to come. Our attendance of this annual event clearly emphasised that. African Education Week is the meeting & trading platform for everyone who is passionate about improving the standard of education in Africa.

The resonating theme throughout the convention was that modern societies need people with scientific, technological, engineering and maths qualifications at the highest level as well as a general public which has a broad understanding of the contents and methods of science and technology, coupled with an insight into their role as social forces that shape the future.

The motto at SANSA is in service of humanity. We are therefore pleased when a gathering of such African Education Week emphasizes the importance of investing more in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). After all, scientific and technological knowledge, skills and artefacts 'invade' all realms of life in modern society: the workplace and the public sphere are increasingly dependent on new as well as upon more established technologies. So, too, are the private sphere and our leisure time.

Science is for girls

Girl learners1"Globally, women occupy only 25 per cent of senior management positions and, in 2008/2009, were on average paid 23% less than men," this is according to the United Nations under its third Millennium Development Goal which is to promote gender equality and empower women.

For the second year running, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) united with Cell C to take part in its Take a Girl Child to Work Day on 30 May 2013. This is part of SANSA's drive to stimulate interest in science and develop capacity in space science and technologies in South Africa.

"As a woman working in a technical environment, I am able to witness the challenges and stereotypes that we as women are faced with; and share my amazing experiences of how to overcome these barriers," says Gladys Magagula, Mission Control Specialist at SANSA's Space Operations directorate and host for the day. "We want to expose these girls to career choices that are totally out of this world."

SANSA hosted 35 girls between the ages of 16 and 18 from Mandisa Shiceka Secondary School, in the nearby Krugersdorp area. The theme for the day was Science is for girls and the learners were treated to a fun-filled programme followed by lunch, a tour of the facility and the handing out of goodie bags.

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