On 27 February 2015, SANSA will support its first Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) mission. A SEP satellite extends the length and capabilities of the space mission while reducing costs. This in turn, could result in the form of cheaper satellite services such as television and internet data.
SEP is a NASA initiative which involves high power; high-efficiency solar electric propulsion systems requiring much less propellant than a comparable, conventional chemical propulsion system. "Simply put, instead of using fuel, these satellites make use of large solar panels and the sun's energy to boost them in space," says Tiaan Strydom, SANSA's Business Development Manager. "Think of a car. When it runs out of fuel, you have to refuel it or your journey ends. Using SEP means the energy source never runs out and therefore your journey can go on and on and on."
An artist's impression of solar electric propulsion. Image source: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/1404967_586808608021985_1343630435_o.jpg