India recently started its second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan 2 with South Africa an integral component of the international tracking effort.
The SA National Space Agency (SANSA) facility at Hartebeesthoek, west of Krugersdorp in Gauteng, is one of a number of international ground stations tracking Chandrayaan 2 and ensuring it will land safely.
Chandrayaan 2 carries 13 payloads distributed across three modules. The payloads went to the Moon aboard ISRO’s (Indian Space Research Organisation) geosynchronous satellite launch Vehicle-MkIII (GSLV Mk-III) rocket engine according to the Department of Science and Technology (DSDT).
“The work conducted at Hartebeesthoek is significant in the advancement of space science and engineering. When we are involved in missions such as the Indian one, it demonstrates our capabilities to operate competitively in the international space market,” SANSA Business Development Manager Space Operations, Tiaan Strydom, said.
According to him, the relationship between SANSA and ISRO has not only been about business. “The relationship between the two organisations has evolved into a partnership with both parties sharing technology and skills.”
SANSA host Indian High Commission Jaideep Sarkar, at the Hartebeesthoek facility sheds of the moon mission launch. The Commission congratulated SANSA for providing tracking services of satellites and rockets to international organisations such as India.
Managing director SANSA Space Operations Raoul Hodges, said “I am proud of the team at SANSA Space Operations, their work is recognised across the world; so much so that SANSA won a bid to host the 16th International Space Operations Conference (SpaceOps) next year.”
“This conference will see international space agency delegates, from technologists to academia, gather on African soil in Cape Town for the first time to engage on all aspects of space mission operations,” Hodges said.