Thursday, 08 November 2018

Former NASA head visits CPUT

REACHING FOR THE STARS: Major General Charles Bolden Jr REACHING FOR THE STARS: Major General Charles Bolden Jr

CPUT’s Space Programme gets a special visitor next week. 

Major General Charles Bolden Jr, the previous head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will visit the Bellville Campus on 13 November.

The US Mission to South Africa is hosting Bolden, who is the US Science Envoy for Space, between November 11 and 17. He starts his journey through South Africa in Cape Town where he will engage with high school learners, university students and faculty, aerospace professionals and the general public.

US Consul General to Cape Town Virginia Baser said they are delighted to host Bolden in Cape Town.

“What a story he has to tell, having served as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for eight years during such an exciting new era of exploration, including furthering the world’s work with the International Space Station and countless developments in space and aeronautics technology. Charlie truly is an inspiration for everyone – especially young people around the world – who are drawn to study science and technology and those who see the vast opportunities in exploration and space,” said Blaser.

During his stint as NASA head until 2017 Bolden oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of Space Shuttle missions to a new age of exploration focused on full utilisation of the International Space Station and space and aeronautics development.

His 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office. He travelled into orbit four times aboard the Space Shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions and piloting two others.

His visit to South Africa underscores US achievement in space exploration, reminding us that next year 20 July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Bolden’s visit caps a busy year for CPUT’s space programme, with F’SATI about to launch its second nano-satellite into space at the end of the year. The space programme is in the process of becoming the southern African arm of the Pan African University, a postgraduate training and research network of African universities.

Additionally, CPUT recently launched Amaya Space, a completely local company that can deliver fully functional CubeSat constellations.

F’SATI also hosts a Space Industry Development Framework Workshop on 15 November. This closed workshop is hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry for industry partners to garner comment on the proposed framework and to update them on the pending legislation.

Bolden will start his CPUT visit with a tour of F’SATI’s laboratory at 9.30am before delivering a motivational lecture at 10 am in room A2.01 of the DEECE building. CPUT staff and students are welcome to attend.

Written by Theresa Smith


Provides coverage for the Applied Sciences and Engineering Faculties and the Wellington Campus.