Denel Dynamics division Spaceteq is developing a small 4 kg satellite that will examine the use of ship Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking systems from space.
The Dynacube-3U satellite is being developed in collaboration with South African National Space Agency (Sansa) Space Science and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). The main mission is to demonstrate the use of AIS in space and evaluate the requirements of interfacing with existing AIS control centres. The satellite will compare AIS coverage from space versus from traditional coast-based transceivers.
The satellite will be 30x10x10 centimetres in size and have a mission life of one year and orbit at 300 kilometres. Launch is scheduled for 2017, according to Denel Dynamics.
Spaceteq was established in 2013 after the transfer of satellite manufacturer SunSpace to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through the South African National Space Agency. It is using the intellectual property from the DST, ex-Sunspace personnel and the heritage from work previously done by Houwteq as a foundation on which to build an organisation that will develop satellite systems for the South African government and international clients.