Cape Town – Africa’s largest and most advanced cube satellite is getting an official send-off on Tuesday, 17 April, for its eventual launch into space.
Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will participate in the send-off of the cube satellite to India from where it will be launched.
The 4kg ZACUBE-2 was developed by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) and is the second nanosatellite to be developed at the university, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
“SANSA strives to grow the local space industry through product, services and skills development. Supporting such programmes as ZACube-2, enables the country to benefit from trained and experienced young space engineering experts,” said SANSA CEO, Dr Val Munsami.
The ZACUBE-1 satellite was launched in 2013 for space weather research. The DST said that the experience that was gained through the French-South African cooperation in satellite engineering has resulted in the completion of ZACUBE-2.
“The 10 x 10 x 10 x 30 cm satellite will track boats along South Africa’s coasts and proactively detect forest fires through an imager payload developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR),” said the DST in a statement.
The department added that the satellite is the precursor to future nanosatellites expected to constitute the next satellite constellation to be launched by the South African government in the framework of Operation Phakisa blue economy programme, developed by CPUT and its consortium, over the next four years.
“Minister Kubayi-Ngubane will attend the ceremony to send off the satellite and its shipping to India from where it is expected to be launched in July. Ambassador of France to South Africa, Christophe Farnaud, will also attend,” the DST said.
A cube satellite or CubeSat is a type of miniaturised satellite for space research that is made up of multiples of 10×10×10 cm cubic units. They also only have a mass of not more than 1.33 kilograms per unit.
The project was funded by the Department of Science and Technology and managed by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) in close cooperation with the University of Montpellier, the French Embassy and the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
The send-off will take place at CPUT’s Bellville Campus.