CSIR ready to unveil antenna

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is set to unveil its X band antenna at its Satellite Applications Centre, in Hartebeesthoek, next week.
The antenna was commissioned in September last year and was supposed to be operational in November, but was delayed by unspecified circumstances, ITWeb reports.  
A CSIR statement says the antenna was funded by the council for an undisclosed amount and is dedicated to earth observation data reception at Hartebeesthoek. The council adds the new antenna will perform at a greater rate than existing equipment on site because of the higher specifications.
“It will be able to operate to lower elevation angles, extending the scope in which the CSIR can receive image telemetry data. The antenna also comes equipped with two new high data-rate demodulators required for the new generation high data-rate satellites,” explains CSIR tracking, telemetry and command manager Eugene Avenant.
Avenant notes the X band antenna will allow the CSIR to extend its offering to satellite customers in terms of the sensors available for direct download.
The new antenna has been integrated into the existing South African Earth Observation Strategy infrastructure, which is managed by the CSIR Satellite Applications Centre on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology.
“The antenna also strengthens the CSIR’s commitment to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites regarding data democracy in the Southern African Development Community, as data downloads from participating countries such as Brazil, China and Argentina are now a reality,” says Avenant.
Science and technology minister Mosibudi Mangena is expected to be present at the unveiling of the antenna. The Department of Science and Technology is in the process of connecting the CSIR’s astronomy centre, in Hartebeesthoek, to its main campus in Pretoria via a 10Gbps ring network, which is a part of the South African National Research network.