SA invests R18.9 million in development of two nanosatellites

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has invested about 18.9 million R18 in the development of two nanosatellites, which will raise awareness of marine domains in South Africa.

According to DSI, this is the first initiative in the country that seeks to provide communication services to the maritime industry.

Funding was channeled through DSI Agency for Technological Innovation (TIA) at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), an institution that plays a leading role in the expansion of space science and technology in South Africa.

The statement said the university had developed advanced nanosatellites and cube satellites (CubeSats) over the years, demonstrating advanced technological capabilities in the country’s space industry.

“South Africa needs a more strategic and coordinated approach to ensure optimal monitoring of coastal waters, including shipping within the country’s exclusive economic zone,” the agency said, adding that it would encourage awareness-raising. maritime domains and improved maritime security.

The two nanosatellites from the marine industry will be powered by M2MS sat technology in the form of avant-garde VHD data exchange system (VDES) software-defined machine-to-machine (M2M) radio stations.

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

“The technology brings flexibility, cost-effectiveness and power to propel communications forward, with far-reaching benefits,” the department explained.

The technology will also allow the provision of complex analysis and ubiquitous positioning of high-value assets, as well as critical services, at a lower cost than the deployment of traditional satellite systems.

“Developed as a collaboration between CPUT and local company Stone Three Communications, M2MS sat the technology improves the state of the art in the field of space innovation, significantly improving the technology on board the CPAC ZACube-2 nanosatellite, launched in 2018. “

In South Africa, the agency said, the space industry ecosystem – including support for space engineering programs, human capacity development, infrastructure investment and technological innovation – is part of the high-end infrastructure sectors that are crucial to economic recovery. the country.

“The development and commercialization of M2MS sat the platform will position South Africa as a key factor for space innovation worldwide, fueled by the space value chain, a growing partnership with industry and rapid monitoring of the creation and exploitation of space knowledge and innovation. “

Meanwhile, Denel’s development plans are underway Scope of the Overberg test (OTR) in the Western Cape as a facility to launch future CubeSats developed by the CPUT.

Earlier this month, researchers and students from KwaZulu-Natal University Aerospace Systems Research Group successfully launched two-hybrid missiles as part of the Phoenix hybrid sound rocket program.

“The successful launch showed that one of the test missiles traveled 17.9 km in the air, achieving a new African record for the height of the hybrid missile, a huge success for South African engineering and the development of Africa’s ability to launch satellite rockets.”

The second missile made an altitude of over 10 km with a payload of CPUT.

(With information from the press release of the Government of South Africa)