SA satellite launches

2013-11-21 09:22
Researchers put the final touches on the ZACUBE-1 micro satellite. (F'SATI)

Researchers put the final touches on the ZACUBE-1 micro satellite. (F'SATI)

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Future plans for CubeSat

2013-11-20 10:55

With South Africa set to launch its first Cube Satellite into space, find out what the future plans for the CubeSat are.WATCH

Cape Town - The South African-built satellite launched into orbit on Thursday amid applause from designers at the French South African Institute of Technology (F'SATI) located at CPUT campus in Bellville.

The micro satellite developed by students at the F'SATI was launched from the Yasny Launch Base in Russia atop a RS-2OB Dnepr rocket on Thursday. It will return data on space weather.

The developers exploded into applause when the rocket took off and footage showed a successful launch.

Professor Robert Van Zyl, director of F'SATI, who had demonstrated video of an earlier launch, confirmed the launch.

"I can confirm that this is an actual launch," he told the audience.

The CubeSat weighs only 1.2kg and was packaged in the first pod to be released into space with a number of other satellites.


"The scientists at the Sansa will be able to use this data to improve their models of the ionosphere, which will allow for better space weather forecasts," Van Zyl told News24.

The satellite was tested extensively before being sent to Russia for the launch to ensure that it would maintain functionality in the harsh environment of outer space throughout its expected working life.

"The satellite was given (and passed) a health check at all stages on its way to the launch site: before shipment to the Netherlands where it was integrated with two other CubeSats (nano-satellites) into a launch adapter; during this 'checkout' phase in the Netherlands, and after the recent delivery to the launch site (Yasny in Russia)," said Van Zyl.

The satellite will orbit the Earth 15 times a day at an altitude of 600km, and is expected to have a working life of between two to five years.

The CPUT vice-chancellor said that the institution was making history by developing the satellite.

"Today I believe that all universities of technology are vindicated," said Professor Lineo Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, vice-chancellor of CPUT.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    sansa  |  space

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