South African National Space Agency


South African National Space Agency (SANSA)
SANSA logo.jpg
Agency overview
Formed9 December 2010 (2010-12-09)
TypeSpace Agency
JurisdictionSouth African Government
Agency executive
  • Dr Valanathan Munsami, CEO
Parent departmentDepartment of Science and Innovation

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) is South Africa's government agency responsible for the promotion and development of aeronautics and aerospace space research. It fosters cooperation in space-related activities and research in space science, seeks to advance scientific engineering through human capital, as well as the peaceful use of outer space, and supports the creation of an environment conducive to the industrial development of space technologies within the framework of national government.[1]

SANSA was established on 9 December 2010 by the National Space Agency Act.[2]

Currently, SANSA's main focusses include using data obtained from remote sensing through satellites and other projects to provide assessment on flooding, fires, resource management and environmental phenomena in South Africa and the African continent.[3][4][5]


SANSA was formed after an act of parliament was passed by acting President Kgalema Motlanthe in 2009. The agency was formed with the intent of consolidating space-related research, projects and research in South Africa and to assume the role as a regional center for space research in Africa.

Throughout the 1950s to 1970s lunar and interplanetary missions conducted by NASA had been supported from a tracking station at Hartebeesthoek where the first images of Mars were received from the Mariner IV spacecraft in the first successful flyby of the planet.[6] Other South African facilities also assisted in tracking satellites to determine the effects of the upper atmosphere on their orbits.[6]

In 1980s work on the development of a launcher and a satellite had been in progress but was discontinued after 1994. In 1999, South Africa launched its first satellite, SUNSAT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the US. A second satellite, SumbandilaSat, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 2009.[7]


SANSA's mission is to use space science and technology to:

  • Deliver space-related services and products to the citizens of South Africa and the region.
  • Support, guide and conduct research and development in space science and engineering and the practical application of the innovations they generate.
  • Stimulate interest in science and develop human capacity in space science and technologies in South Africa.
  • Create an environment that promotes industrial development.
  • Nurture space-related partnerships to enhance South Africa's standing in the community of nations.

South African National Earth Observation Strategy

SANSA is a key contributor to the South African Earth Observation Strategy (SAEOS), for which the primary objective is "to coordinate the collection, assimilation and dissemination of Earth observation data, so that their full potential to support policy, decision-making, economic growth and sustainable development in South Africa can be realised."

SANSA will provide space-based data platforms that focus on in-situ Earth observation measurements in collaboration with entities such as the South African Earth Observation Network (SAEON).

SANSA Space Weather Centre

SANSA Space Science is host to the only Space Weather[8] Regional Warning Centre in Africa, which operates as part of the International Space Environment Service (ISES). The Space Weather Centre provides an important service to the nation by monitoring the sun and its activity to provide information, early warnings and forecasts on space weather conditions. The space weather products and services are required primarily for communication and navigation systems, in the defense, aeronautics, navigation and communication sectors.

See also


  1. ^ "South African National Space Agency Act - South African Government" (PDF). 10 May 2015. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2020.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "SANSA | About".
  3. ^ Campbell, Keith. "South Africa's space agency advances new satellite and use of imagery". Engineering News. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  4. ^ "SA's success in space | Pretoria News". Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  5. ^ "SA's space technology to help monitor worst drought in history –". 5 February 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Why a South African national space agency?" (PDF). Engineering News Online. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  7. ^ "SA satellite finally lifts off". News24. 18 August 2009. Archived from the original on 22 September 2009.
  8. ^ Space Weather
  9. ^ a b "Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (South Africa)".

External links

  • Media related to South African National Space Agency at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website Edit this at Wikidata
  • South African Space Portal
  • SA Amateur Space Administration