Astro congress opened

2011-10-03 17:24

Cape Town - Exploring Mars and searching for extraterrestrial intelligence are among the topics which will feature at the 62nd International Astronautical Congress, which started in Cape Town on Monday.

It is the first time the event, which has attracted more than 2000 scientists from countries around the world, is being held in Africa.

Speaking at the opening, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies told delegates a growing number of African countries were becoming involved in space technologies, and for good reason.

"There are a number of developmental problems on the African continent that can benefit from the application of space-based technologies," he said.

"These include challenges in the areas of food security, in energy, in water resources, as well as... telecommunications and navigation."

Davies said the scale of South Africa's own space programmes was becoming increasingly sophisticated, with a focus on micro-satellites.

"We have been focusing on the development of micro-satellites, as well as on the development of ground-based interstellar observation."

South Africa was now one of two finalists in the bid to become the site for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, Davies said.

Showcase

The congress is being hosted by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), together with the local National Research Foundation.

The IAF, described as the world's foremost space advocacy organisation, is based in Paris.

It was founded in 1951, and has 205 members from 60 countries, including South Africa's Sun Space company, which built the country's Sumbandila satellite.

About 20 local aero-space companies are exhibiting their technological, engineering and manufacturing capabilities at the event, being held in Cape Town's international convention centre.

"The congress will provide African industry in general with an opportunity to showcase its own capabilities," Davies said.

"And an opportunity for the global space community to find out about space activities which are located on our continent, and the possibilities for partnerships which exist among us."

Speaking at the opening, Science Minister Naledi Pandor said South Africa possessed space facilities that were unique on the continent.

"These include a satellite test and integration facility, situated in Grabouw, and a launch facility situated at Arniston."

She suggested the latter might be revitalised.

Launch facility

"We are deliberating on exactly what to do with respect to the launch facility, and really wonder whether we should be spending millions launching in other countries, when we have a facility that is currently mothballed in our own country."

Earlier this year, her department said South Africa had plans to launch it own satellites within the next 15 years, in an effort to break into the global satellite launching market and lower the cost of launching its own.

During the five-day congress, dozens of papers will be presented by experts from around the world.

These include, "Nuclear Propulsion in Spacecraft as a Unique Solution for a Mars Mission" and "Extending Seti [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] to Nearby Galaxies".

The 31 symposia to be held at the event cover topics including space life sciences, small satellite missions, space safety, material and structures, space debris and microgravity sciences and processes.

The opening day came exactly 59 years after the launch of the first man-made object into space.

According to the IAF's website, on October 3 1942, a V2/A4 rocket was launched from Test Stand VII at Peenemunde, Germany.

"On the flight... the Aggregat 4 reached the highest point of its trajectory at 84km. In further height tests, the projectile ascended up to 184km above Earth," the it states.

- SAPA

Read more on:    rob davies  |  naledi pandor  |  cape town  |  space
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zille: Only DA can challenge ANC in F State

The DA is the only party that can challenge the ANC in the Free State, opposition party leader Helen Zille says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Joostenberg Vlakte - 17:23 PM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    ACCIDENT near Engen Winelands One-Stop
  • Monday Sir Lowry's Pass - 16:54 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    HEAVY TRAFFIC over Sir Lowrys Pass - expect delays
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

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.