Pandor hails SA satellite
Brits - SA must never be shy to compete against the best countries in the world, said science and technology Minister Naledi Pandor after witnessing the first images from the Sumbandila satellite on Monday morning.
"I'm excited that our nation is in space... We intend to use our minds and our resources to take a leadership position in space. We are on track, we can be among the best," Pandor told journalists and experts at the satellite applications centre in Brits.
Sumbandila, meaning "lead the way" in Tshivenda, cost over R20m to build and R12m to launch. Pandor said the project was important in order for the country to advance.
"We must develop our own capabilities." She said she was pleased that the satellite was delivering what it was built for.
SumbandilSAT weighs 81kg and carries a 6.25 metre ground sampling distance. The multispectral imager moves at a speed of 7km per second. Russia was contracted for the launch five months ago.
Pandor said this project would strengthen technological capabilities and space resources that currently exist, expand capacity development and training in satellite engineering and also provide earth-observation satellite data for a wide range of applications.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) mission control specialist Glady's Magagula said the satellite would be seen twice in the morning and twice in the evening in SA.
Because of an unusual feature that it carries, the Sumbandila makes it possible to collect imaging data during a national emergency like floods.
This is the second satellite the country has launched in 11 years.
In 1998, South Africa built the satellite Sunsat, weighing about 64kg, with the assistance of National Archives of SA. It was launched the following year.