Nano-sat’s accidental snap of SA

2014-01-24 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Tshepiso Sat, South Africa’s first nano-satellite, has taken a picture of its homeland — by accident.

The tiny satellite, weighing just 1,2 kg, was launched from Russia in November and is in an orbit 600 km above the Earth.

Professor Robert van Zyl of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where the satellite was built at the France-South Africa Technology Institute, said yesterday: “Tshepiso was not built for Earth observation. Its camera is there so we can see if the antenna is correctly deployed. We can’t control the camera.”

So he said they were surprised to see the perfect snap of South Africa, as well as one of the Sun.

The 10-metre antenna will be deployed over the course of two weeks and forms the heart of the satellite’s experiments, sending out radio signals that will help to investigate the ionosphere.

The signals will be analysed by a high-frequency antenna at the SA National Space Agency’s space science unit at Hermanus.

This antenna is able to determine precisely the direction from which Tshepiso’s signals are coming.

The signal bends slightly as a result of the electrical charge in the ionosphere. Studying this discrepancy will allow researchers to determine a lot about the composition and thickness of the ionosphere, which is important for high-frequency communications.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.