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South African space agency celebrates Space Week

Look to the stars, for we’re officially in World Space Week, which kicks off today and lasts for, oh, about seven days or so. And to celebrate, South Africa’s National Space Agency (SANSA) has put together a veritable bonanza of big news events. Today, for example, it officially inaugurated the Ku-IOT antenna in Hartebeeshoek, marking as operational the big radio dish which arrived in the country back in February.

The new dish’s name refers to the fact that it will be used for In-Orbit Tests (IOT), essentially communicating with satellites and providing outsourced services to other space operators. It will also be used for the development of new South African satellites, including the up and coming EO-SAT 1.

Ku-IOT will also be used to monitor real-time changes in data such as the spread of informal housing settlements via satellite imagery.

And that’s not all. Next Tuesday, SANSA will release the latest version of its Fundisa disk, an archive of technical and learning materials that it distributes to tertiary education institutions around the country every year. Saving the best until last, it will also be turning on a new radar that will become part of the international SuperDARN network in Hermanus on Wednesday.


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