To the moon, mars and beyond


The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has entered into a partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to host a Deep Space Ground Station.

The station, which will be based in Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape, will support human spaceflight missions to the moon, mars and beyond.

It will be integrated into an existing network of three sites in the United States of America, Spain and Australia.

As the fourth site, the station will complement the other three sites and provide improved coverage and redundancy for critical mission support. SANSA will operate, maintain and manage the station.

Cabinet has approved the partnership, noting that the station will benefit South Africa in, amongst others, the development of scarce skills and the growth of the science, engineering, technology and innovation sector.

“It will also provide opportunities to feed the knowledge economy, and increase the national research output in space science and technology,” Cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.