Learners can name satellite

2018-10-03 06:02

The Department of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the South African National Space Agency (Sansa), the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (Saasta) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, calls on all Gr. 4 to Gr. 12 learners to participate in a satellite naming competition.

Participants stand a chance to win a laptop and a two-day trip to the satellite construction in Cape Town.

The winning learner will be accompanied by one adult (parent or teacher).

Learners will be judged on creativity and originality of concept, insights into the mission and knowledge of satellites. The name should be representative of the aspirational spirit of citizens. Entries are welcome in any official South African language.

Daphney Molelwa, communications officer at Saasta, said naming a satellite gives it a personality and character.

“We want South African satellites to be a point of pride for the nation, as well as to express the characteristics of a nation advancing in the global space race,” she said.

South Africa’s first cubesat, ZACube-1 (known as TshepisoSat) was launched in 2013.

A CubeSat is an extremely small satellite in the form of a 10 cm x 10 cm x10 cm cube with a mass of up to 1 kg.

This can be used to monitor the movement of ships along the South African coastline with its automatic identification system (AIS) payload. The AIS navigational data will provide government support of its Operational Phakisa initiative to grow the maritime economy.

ZACube-2 will be placed in orbit at an altitude of 600 km. Its main mission will be to gather data on space weather for Sansa. It is proposed to launch in December 2018.

The competition closes on 12 November. Entry forms and rules are on Saasta’s website.

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