Unlocking the promise that space holds for economic growth

  Some say space activity is too expensive. Others say it’s cheap. It’s certainly true that the extraordinary social and economic benefits we see are achieved at a very small percentage of global GDP – less than 0,5%. According to the OECD’s Space Economy at a Glance (2014), the space economy generated USD256,2-billion in revenue […]

Young volcanoes on the moon?

  There’s nothing odd about volcanoes on the moon, per se.  Much of the moon’s ancient surface is covered with hardened lava. The main features of the “Man on the Moon” are, in fact,  old basaltic flows deposited billions of years ago when the moon was wracked by violent eruptions. Back in 1971, Apollo 15 […]

Does South Africa need a “spy” satellite?

  The Secretary of Defence, Dr. Sam Gulube recently told the parliamentary defence committee that a contact to develop a military satellite had been reinstated with the Russian company NPO Mashinostroyenia. Named “Flute” the project goes back to 2006 when South Africa signed a contract with the Russian company to build a Kondor-E satellite for […]

Turbulence may prevent the formation of a large numbers of stars

  The same phenomenon that causes a bumpy airplane ride, turbulence, may be the solution to a long-standing mystery about the birth of stars, or the absence of it. This is the finding of  a new study using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the universe, held together […]

Space benefits outweigh the cost says minister

  Delivering the opening address at the recent African Association of Remote Sensing of the environment (AARSE)  in Johannesburg Naladi Pandor,  minister of science and technology said that the extraordinary social and economic benefits we see  from space  activity are achieved at a very small percentage of global GDP – less than 0,5% but the […]

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft nears completion

  NASA is making steady progress on its Orion spacecraft in preparation for the capsule’s first trip to space in December 2014. Orion is built to take humans further than ever before. It will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the […]

South Africa’s TshepisoSat 14 MHz beacon still elusive

  The satellite built by students and engineers at F’SATI at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, TshepisoSat, is continuing to send telemetry signals and has taken some interesting photographs, but its 20 m (14,099 MHz) beacon has not yet been heard on the ground. Before any conclusions can be drawn, further tests will be […]

Mars – here we come again!

  If there is anyone on Mars they must be wondering about the strange object flying around their planet. In science-fiction stories we have given a particular identity to the people that supposedly live on Martian soil. The object troubling our fictional Martians is NASA’s Mars atmosphere and volatile evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft which entered Mars’ […]

SANSA monitoring geomagnetic storm

  According to the Space Weather Centre of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) active region 2158 near the centre of the solar disk erupted on 10 September 2014 with an X1,6 class solar flare, accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME is travelling towards Earth and was expected to impact the […]