SA buys into nanosatellite development with R19m investment

The Ministry of Science and Innovation (DSI) has made a multimillion-dollar investment in the development of two nanosatellites that will provide communication services to the maritime industry.

The department says SA needs more strategic and coordinated optimal monitoring of coastal waters, including shipping movements within the country’s exclusive economic zone, hence the investment.

According to him, support for space engineering programs, human capacity development, infrastructure investment and technological innovation will also help the country’s economic recovery.

Announcing the investment of RSI 18.9 million yesterday, DSI said the two nanosatellites in the marine industry will be powered by M2MSat technology, in the form of software-defined VHD (VDES) machine-to-machine (M2M) communication radio stations.

A software-defined radio system (SDR) that uses software to modulate and demodulate radio signals will perform significant amounts of signal processing on a general-purpose computer.

“Technology brings flexibility, cost efficiency and the power to drive communications forward, with far-reaching benefits,” says DSI.

He adds that SDR technology will provide emerging M2M and Internet of Things applications capable of providing sophisticated analysis and ubiquitous positioning of high-value assets, as well as critical services at a lower cost than the deployment of traditional satellite systems.

The investment in DSI was made through the Agency for Technological Innovation at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, an institution that plays a leading role in the expansion of space science and technology in SA.

The university has developed nanosatellites and cube satellites (CubeSats) over the years, which according to DSI demonstrates advanced technological capabilities in the country’s space industry.

“The development and commercialization of the M2MSat platform will position South Africa as a key contributor to global space innovation, power in the space value chain, a growing partnership with industry and rapid monitoring of the creation and exploitation of space knowledge and The department says.