SANSA Space Science News

African region set to benefit from new Space Weather Warning Centre

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Hermanus, South Africa 20 April 2018 - The African region is set to derive even greater benefit from the recent upgrade to the South African National Space Agency's (SANSA) Space Weather Regional Warning Centre located in Hermanus in the Western Cape. Unveiled yesterday by South Africa's Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, this state-of-the-art facility is the only regional warning centre for Africa and integral to protecting satellites and the continent's national power grids and communications and navigation systems from the harmful effects of space weather.

"Extreme space weather storms are a risk that could endanger the economy, costing South Africa billions of Rands if not mitigated effectively" said SANSA CEO, Dr Val Munsami. "Governments in several countries, including the USA and UK, have recently listed space weather on their National Risk Registers".

Acknowledging the vital role of the SANSA Space Weather Centre in mitigating the disruption of electricity blackouts, satellite communications failures and commercial aviation services, the Minister also highlighted the significant role of space science in building economic development and stimulating R&D cooperation in building a knowledge economy.

An extreme space weather event or solar superstorm is a potentially high-impact, low-probability natural hazard. Due to a growing awareness of the potential consequences of extreme space weather, governments in numerous countries now consider this as an element of national risk assessment.

International Space Weather Camp

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Get more information and apply online by 16 April 2018 

Download this file (Space Weather Camp 2018 F.pdf)International Space Weather Camp 2018 [ ]1777 kB

Space Talk at SANSA - Antarctic Adventures

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Space Talk at SANSA - NASA New Horizons Mission

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Join us for this exciting free public talk on 5 June 2017 at 18:00 at SANSA in Hermanus! 

Book your space now at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 028 312 1196 

Another eye towards the sky - unveiling South Africa's Optical Space Research Laboratory

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SANSA's robust endeavours to strengthen the country's role in multinational space science research, this time specifically in upper-atmosphere studies, come to fruition with the unveiling of the Optical Space Research (OSR) Laboratory at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Sutherland on 6 April this year.

This state-of-the-art facility will be used solely for research and to host space monitoring projects with national and international partners.

"Space science research is complex and requires significant multinational collaboration. The unique capabilities of this facility will provide crucial space science data to meet national and international obligations, as well as raise the standard of South African research and supply information about unanswered scientific questions to enhance scientific development," says SANSA CEO, Dr Val Munsami. Aligned with SANSA's human capacity development imperative, the OSR Laboratory will also be used by space science students nationally and internationally for research projects.

SANSA's hosting agreement with the SAAO facilitated the construction of the OSR Laboratory in 2016. The unique location of the observatory in Sutherland, which enables optical and radio research of the atmosphere, is radio quiet and offers the optically dark, clear seeing conditions that makes it an ideal location for the laboratory.

SANSA has a partnership agreement with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), to host a space debris tracking station within the OSR Laboratory. The facility includes a space debris tracking telescope as part of SMARTnet™ (Small Aperture Robotic Telescope Network), a dedicated sensory network based on telescope systems. "Satellite safety and reliability depend on identifying threats, such as collisions, and using countermeasures to deal with hazardous situations," says Dr Hauke Fiedler, Team Leader of Space Situational Awareness at DLR.

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