The beginning of the new year comes with great news for South Africa’s science sector.
This as the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) underwent an extensive assessment to be selected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), becoming the designated regional provider of space weather information to the entire African airspace sector.
This means every aircraft flying in the African continent’s airspace will rely on SANSA for space weather information as part of its flight plan.
“South Africa’s designation as a regional space weather information provider will grow the science, engineering, technology and innovation sector. Offering opportunities to develop scarce skills and increase national research output, while ensuring that usable products are generated from the knowledge,” said the Department of Science and Technology to SA News.
The department also noted that South Africa’s international reputation has been enhanced following the selection, with the country now seen as a leading player in the space science sector. SANSA’s designation by the ICAO presents an opportunity to further use the newly revamped space weather centre at Hermanus in the Western Cape.
The centre has been newly upgraded, being used to monitor the Sun and its activity, and has been providing the country with vital early warnings and forecasts on space weather conditions. Now these benefits will be extended to the continent’s aviation community.
“The country’s space science programme is feeding the knowledge economy and placing the national system of innovation at the centre of South Africa’s development agenda,” concluded the department.