SANSA and UK Space Agency sign MoU

  A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed by Sir Mark Walport, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, on behalf of the UK Space Agency and Dr. Sandile Malinga, CEO of the South African Space Agency.  Sir Mark was on an official visit to South Africa to deepen collaboration around science and innovation – […]

New Horizons calls home after Pluto flypast

The long-awaited call has come. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft phoned home just before 21h00 EDT on 14 July 2015 to let the mission team and the world know it had accomplished the historic first ever flyby of Pluto. This is a historic win for science and for exploration. The pre-programmed “phone call” – a 15-minute […]

CPUT planning a successor to Africa’s first nanosatellite

  The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) is planning a successor to its first CubeSat and has set its vision on ship-tracking. In a paper presented at the recent SAAMSAT space Symposium in Pretoria, Daniel de Villiers, development engineer at French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) at CUPT, said that  ZACube-2 will be […]

CubeSat to fly in deep space

Two CubeSats will be flying past Mars in 2016 just as NASA’s next Mars lander, InSight, is descending through the Martian atmosphere and landing on the surface. Mars Cube One (MarCO), will provide an experimental communications relay to speedily inform Earth about the landing CubeSats are a class of spacecraft based on a standardised small […]

Getting ready for next mission to the Red Planet

  Testing is underway on NASA’s next mission on the journey to Mars (the Red Planet), a stationary lander scheduled to launch in March 2016. The lander is called InSight, an abbreviation for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. It is about the size of a car and will be the first […]

Could solar sails de-orbit satellites?

  The question of space debris has been a concern of many nations and with the large number of satellites being launched, space debris is increasing at an alarming rate.  The obvious answer would be to deorbit a satellite after it has served its purpose and is no longer needed. It will then burn up […]

ISS astronaut answers questions from SA learners

  It was a day they will long remember!  Learners from the Sol Plaatje primary school in Mmbatho linked up with the Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti  on the International Space Station (ISS) via a link established  by an radio amateur ground station on Saturday 2 May 2015. Commander Cristoforetti is spending almost six months on […]

Iconic satellite’s life ends as it crashes into Mercury

Mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have confirmed that Messenger slammed into the surface of Mercury on 30 April 2015 at 21h26. It had used the last of its propellant on 24 April and could no longer maintain a stable orbit. Travelling some 14 000 km per hour, the […]

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