SANSA to expand space sector capability with Infrastructure Hub

The government has allocated more than R4 billion to the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) to expand the country’s digital infrastructure.

The announcement will be welcomed by South Africa’s tech and telecommunications sector as the government looks to become a leader in space sciences on the African continent.

SANSA Space Infrastructure Hub

Funding to expanding SA space sector

The funding is part of the government’s economic recovery plan that President Ramaphosa highlighted as being critical to the country’s recovery post-COVID-19. The president stressed that there would be a focus on creating jobs through strategic infrastructure projects.

While traditional infrastructure projects such as transit networks and water and power infrastructure will most likely be high on the agenda, it’s good news for South Africa’s tech centre that more modern space-based technologies are also being prioritised.

SANSA CEO, Dr Val Munsami, said the Space Infrastructure Hub “marks a significant milestone for the South African space sector to build an indigenous space capability that will serve the needs of the country”.

“This project will position space data as a tool for sustainable development, especially addressing government’s national priorities and for commercial use in thematic areas such as remote sensing, navigation, and space sciences”.

Dr Val Munsami

Indeed space infrastructure has become a significant part of our economy with satellite technology playing an essential role in everything from weather forecasting to logistics tracking.

How funding will be used

The investment is aimed to facilitate several satellites builds for earth observation and science missions as well as a new data visualisation centre and activation of the satellite-based augmentation system over Southern Africa.

The following infrastructure projects have also been approved and have had funding ring-fenced in addition to the R4.47 billion funding which has been announced.

  • Upgrade of the Houwteq Satellite Testing Facility – R75 million
  • Establishment of a Concurrent Engineering Design Facility – R25 million
  • The establishment of a new Space Weather Regional Warning Centre – R90 million
  • Establishment of an Earth Observation Data Cube Facility – R12.5 million
  • A Research, Development and Innovation Fund for the development of space products and services – R60 million.

“Our business case shows that with every Rand we spend, we can recoup about R10 in benefits. If we spend an estimated R10 billion in the next ten years, the direct and indirect benefits would be around R100 billion. Our primary vision going forward is to position ourselves for the African Space Programme to benefit all 55 countries on the continent.”

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