SANSA’s work with RadioAstron is a win for the two BRICS members and the rest of Africa

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Four months ago, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) signed an agreement on the RadioAstron space satellite. Under the agreement, Roscosmos will provide the hardware for upgrading the tracking station
(antenna) for compatibility with RadioAstron, while SANSA will install and maintain the upgraded hardware and operate the tracking station.

To find out how the project has been since the signed agreement by the two BRICS members, we spoke to Shravan Singh, Radio Frequency Engineer (responsible for the technical side of the RadioAstron project) at SANSA Space Operations.

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.

SFCG

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.

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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.

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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.

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