SAAF to host a space symposium in 2024

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Current SA Air Force (SAAF) Chief, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo, used last week’s National Space Conference to expand on his service’s “readiness to engage with the space sector”.

His participation in the SA National Space Agency (SANSA)/Department of Science and Innovation conference at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria comes just over two months after the three-star said there was “momentum” behind a dedicated “Space Command Section” in the SAAF.

Addressing a commission and wings parade at Air Force Base (AFB) Langebaanweg in June, he elaborated on what he told the September 2022 Air and Space Power Symposium. That was when he made known the establishment of the South African Space Command Section (SASCS) to manage and co-ordinate all defence-related space activities in collaboration with the SANSA and other government agencies.

In Pretoria, Mbambo was reported as informing the National Space Conference: “Looking ahead, the SAAF plans to host a space display for space enthusiasts followed by a space symposium in conjunction with the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition [scheduled for September 2024]”.

5 ASU (Air Servicing Unit) staffer Sherildean Mamba reports him as telling National Space Conference delegates it [the conference] “demonstrated South Africa has the capabilities and willingness to contribute to humanity’s journey into space”.

“With continued innovation and collaboration, the country’s future in space looks promising and reaffirms the SAAF’s commitment to becoming a space power. The Air Force remains dedicated to innovation and upholding its mission to serve the nation effectively in the space realm.”

Those on parade at AFB Langebaanweg in June heard Mbambo say the “creation of SASCS was a significant development indicating renewed interest in space exploration and technology. Beyond defence applications, the SASCS development promises positive impacts on sectors, including telecommunications, agriculture and environmental monitoring,” according to him.