South African nanosatellite Successfully Sent To Orbit
BuzzSouthAfrica has been informed that South African nanosatellite has been successfully sent to orbit from the International Space Station (ISS).
The satellite weighing 2.5kg is South Africa’s first privately owned nanosatellite (nSight1) to be deployed. It will now orbit Earth and capture images with a remote sensing camera.
From our gatherings, nSight1 was locally designed and built by SCS Space, a member of the SCS Aerospace Group.
While it was the first time a private company in Africa attempted to build and launch a satellite, the South African nanosatellite was constructed within six months with the help of the available space infrastructure in the country.
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Welcoming the deployment of nSight1, the Department of Science and Technology related that the country has been involved in space research and technology for 50 years.
“The first locally designed and manufactured satellite, SUNSAT, was launched in 1999.
“NSight1’s deployment follows the successful launch of South African satellites since the late nineties, including SUNSAT (1999), SumbandilaSat (2009) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s ZACUBE-1 satellite (2013).
“NSight1 was part of a batch of 28 nanosatellites from 23 different countries, launched on 18 April 2017 from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA. After reaching the ISS, the nanosatellites were unloaded and deployed by the ISS team.
“The main objectives of nSight1’s mission are to demonstrate a patented coding technique developed at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and to showcase the space capabilities of private companies in South Africa,” stated the department.
The department further related that the South African nanosatellite is part of the European Commission’s QB50 project.
As learnt, the project was initiated to inspire the design and deployment of a network of satellites that will study the lower thermosphere which is largely unexplored.
“The SCS Aerospace Group’s nSight, therefore, carries the scientific instrumentation for in-site thermosphere analysis as one of its three payloads. The von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium is the lead institute for the QB50 project consortium.
“The second nSight1 payload is the newly developed SCS Gecko Imager. This is an ultra-compact imager that provides RGB imaging at high frame rates, large integrated high-speed data storage, and a compact form factor optimised for integration with two unit or larger CubeSat frames.
“The satellite’s third payload is the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s patented Radiation Mitigation VHDL Coding Technique. The University has a strong partnership with SCS Aerospace Group in satellite technology,” disclosed the department.
It was also disclosed that the SCS Space ground operations team will be responsible for the mission control of the satellite.
“This process involves the establishment of contact and a communication link with the nanosatellite from the new ground station situated near Houwteq in Grabouw,” added the department.
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Commenting, SCS Space’s CEO, Hendrik Burger asserted that the company is happy to be involved in the international project which has placed South Africa on the international satellite map.
Also, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, Mmboneni Muofhe remarked that “the satellite is an important milestone demonstrating the outcome of the capability established through the Department of Science and Technology’s ongoing investment in the South African space programme.
“More than 70% of the satellite is made up of satellite components supplied by enterprises in the South African space industry,” Muofhe revealed.