New Space company opens for business in Cape Town


Sweden headquartered AAC Clyde Space, a “new space” company now has a South African footprint with AAC Space Africa starting operations this week.

AAC Space Africa is set to capitalise on a rapidly growing market for satellites and space services in Africa. AAC Space Africa will design, build and deliver space missions to the continent from its Cape Town base. The new subsidiary will also be the group’s centre of competence for advanced radio communication.

The new company will be managed by Dr Robert Van Zyl as managing director and Francois Visser as technical director. They bring over 40 years of small satellite experience to the company, having pioneered the African CubeSat industry through several missions, including the first CubeSat launched by the continent.  Their expertise spans all facets of new space technologies, with a focus on communications.

The team will initially focus on radio communication systems, sales and marketing. The team is expected to grow to meet demand from the African space economy, which is set to grow to $10 billion by 2024.

“The need for space services in Africa is growing rapidly as governments, companies and communities seek efficient ways to support development and build crucial infrastructure. We see potential for small satellites to provide timely, accurate and targeted data for sectors such as weather forecasting, ocean monitoring, agricultural planning and land management.

“The ability to provide data from space and monitor key issues will help Africa develop more rapidly. Adding local presence and expert knowledge to our existing commercial offering will put AAC in position to address these growing needs. We look forward to an active role in the South African space community and the wider market,” chief executive Luis Gomes said.

AAC selected South Africa as the base for its new subsidiary because the country has an established space industry and a strong position in communication systems, with skilled engineers and data scientists. AAC Space Africa will also be the centre of competence for advanced radio communication systems for the entire AAC group, becoming the worldwide supplier of advanced radio systems for AAC’s space missions.

AAC Clyde Space was previously active in Africa through its European companies’ hubs, most recently supporting Mauritius in efforts to become a space nation and track ocean currents with earth observation technologies.