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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

South Africa’s most powerful nano-satellite celebrated

The CPUT Space Cadets and members of the CPUT Satellite Programme with Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane The CPUT Space Cadets and members of the CPUT Satellite Programme with Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane Robin Thuynsma

Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane hailed the send-off of the ZACube-2 satellite as a job well done by CPUT.

Kubayi-Ngubane delivered the keynote address at the nano-satellites send-off ceremony at the Bellville campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology yesterday. 

“We are excited about the work you are doing here because the country has a deficit of space engineers, especially black and female ones,” she told the gathering. “We are trying to achieve a critical and meaningful role in the global space economy and need you to do that.”

ZACube-2 will now be shipped to The Netherlands where it would be integrated with other CubeSats. It would then make its way to India from where it will eventually be launched.

Nano-satellites are small satellites weighing between 1kg and 10kg and ZACube-2 was developed by the internationally acclaimed French South African Institute at CPUT, which made history when it launched Africa’s first nano-satellite in 2013.

ZACube-2 is a triple unit CubeSat - three times the size of its predecessor and will monitor marine traffic along the South African coast and feed Operation Phakisa objectives. Data received from ships includes the ships’ GPS coordinates, registration information, speed and direction of travel and will assist the authorities to track ship traffic in our exclusive economic zone and improve the safety of ships. ZACube-2 will also carry an advanced camera, which will detect forest and veld fires.

CPUT’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Technology and Innovation Professor Marshall Sheldon says the university has an all-encompassing approach to learning which sees all aspects of the satellite development happen on in high tech on-campus facilities like a cleanroom, production and development areas, state of the art test equipment and a ground station.

“Nano-satellites are affordable to produce and provide a paradigm shift from the traditional large-satellite industry. Highly responsive and agile they provide real-world solutions to real-world issues,” she says.

“Initiatives like ZACube-2 are helping to attract more learners to careers in space engineering and as it does, the abundance of ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurship that pulsates through the youth of South Africa becomes ever more apparent.”

*Operation Phakisa is an initiative of the South African government aimed at implementing priority programmes better, faster and more effectively.

*The ZACube-2 mission is an initiative funded by the Department of Science and Technology, the South African National Space Agency, the National Research Foundation and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Our technology partners include the CSIR, Stone Three, Stellenbosch University (CubeSpace), Astrofica, Luvhone, Etse, Spaceteq and Clyde Space.

Written by Lauren Kansley

Tel: +27 21 953 8646

Liaises with the media and writes press releases about interesting developments at CPUT.