Spaceteq, Denel’s newly formed space engineering business unit, was today inducted as a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) at the 64th annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) currently under way in Beijing, China.
The membership into the IAF is an important step for South Africa as the IAC groups together all those involved in the space programmes of the world: administrators, industrialists, scientists, engineers, technologists, astronauts and cosmonauts.
“This formal induction and membership into the IAF will assist Spaceteq to successfully enter the space industry with greater insight and establish international networks,” says Tsepo Monaheng, CEO at Denel Dynamics. “It marks another step towards our nation and the continent playing a role within the international space community.”
The Federation has many well-established industry channels and platforms from which to share research and information. Its focus is to build a future of co-operation, development and international friendship, bringing together experts from experienced and emerging space nations. “South Africa is extremely proud to join these nations as an IAF member,” says Monaheng.
Within the past couple of years the African continent has witnessed a four-nation African Resource Management Constellation (ARMC) agreement between Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. This resulted in the creation of the SA space policy and strategy, as well as the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).
“Space is a new frontier for Africa, and this formal induction into the global space community means that South Africa is getting noticed for the work it has achieved in space science and technology,” says Monaheng.
In July 2013, satellite manufacturer, SunSpace was incorporated into Denel Dynamics, leader in innovative and advanced aerospace systems and technology. The move optimised the highly advanced engineering technology skills of the two businesses now housed under one roof as Spaceteq.
Satellite production is a high-technology niche that South Africa will be pursuing. Spaceteq’s scientists and engineers have capabilities honed from working at the Houwteq satellite test facility near Grabouw and on the SunSat and SumbandilaSat programmes. Developments are already under way for Spaceteq’s first project, a multispectral, high-resolution, earth observation satellite called EO-Sat1 for operation by SANSA by 2017.
“Being in space is about stimulating a hi-tech economy and developing a knowledge economy. A vibrant space industry is an exciting prospect as it will be a draw-card for the advancement of maths and science careers while creating quality jobs in South Africa. It will put South Africa on the map as a space nation – producing and using space data and science to solve our country’s developmental challenges. I am certain it will also inspire millions within South Africa and across the continent,” says Monaheng.