Pandor hails SA satellite

2010-02-22 12:12

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.

National emergency

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.

  • Patrick - 2010-02-22 13:05

    this is a good news S.A. is spearheading for being in the front row of Africa in science and technology, we must also pay tribute to the former minister for science& technology DR Mosibudi mangena for being visionery and working tirelessly for to be achieved

  • Nkunzi - 2010-02-22 20:41

    I cannot help but think that we ARE ALREADY in the forefront of Science & Technology 'in Africa', and that we do not have the resources to 'compete against the best countries in the world'. A 'Leadership position in space' is as far-fetched as getting a 50% pass rate in matric! Come down to earth Naledi ... You did after all stuff up EDUCATION so badly with your grand pipe dreams, that we are going to battle for a long time to make even a tiny bit of progress in improving our kids ability to get on in the adult world! Why spend R32m to get 'imaging data in case of flooding'? There are people all over the country that will gladly send you photos and phone emergency services if they experience floods or other disasters...@ R75,000ea, I could have used the R32m to build 426 houses for the people. You must get your priorities right, sister. Rome is burning, but all you can think of is some GLORY for yourself? In any case, what is a "mission control specialist"? Do we now have NASA here as well? RENT satellite - time from nations ALREADY into SPACE PROGRAMS, and rather spend our tax money on improving our kids' futures,or upgrade clinics, or fix pot-holes or whatever. We are really getting sick of PANDORINGS and political hoohah!! You are missing the point totally - the PEOPLE (who you serve)are demanding improvement in their basic everyday existence - not your 'head in
    the clouds' crap! Get real!

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