Daily we can be found using computers, mobile phones and needing to travel to many places for business or pleasure. We watch satellite TV (DSTV) and often check the weather to identify what outfit to wear to the office or if the soccer match will be rained out. All this is done without much thought to how these gadgets and gizmos operate or if they will stop being there.
The reality is that our technologies stem from the investment of Governments and organisations on space science, technology and engineering. Should these contributions not exist, we would not have mobile phones, internet, GPS, DSTV, ATMs, meteorological forecasting and safe land, air or sea travel, to name a few services we utilise daily. All these rely on satellites positioned around the Earth.
Our understanding of our planet through Earth observation is also significant to ensure we may better plan our infrastructure and housing developments, manage our natural resources, mitigate against natural disasters, manage agricultural concerns and even monitor spread of diseases or people across borders.
Monitoring of the activity on the Sun is also critical as any severe solar flares directed toward Earth could result in us losing satellites, grounded naval and aircraft as well as poses a risk to our power grids and emergency rescue services.
The loss of space-based capabilities would have an immediate impact on our daily lives; however backup systems do exist to enable continuation of critical functions and activities.
The real problem emerges when the loss extends past a day or two, when backup systems are relied upon to perform all the functions currently provided by space assets. The long-term impacts of losing space capabilities could have a paralyzing effect on our daily lives.
The South African National Space Agency was created to promote the use of space and cooperation in space-related activities while fostering research in space science, advancing scientific engineering through developing of our human capital and provide support to industrial development in space technologies.
Our value proposition is to create:
Societal capital - world-class and efficient services and societal benefits
Intellectual capital - cutting-edge research, development, innovation, technology and its applications
Human capital - effective human capital development and citizenry engagement
Economic capital - globally competitive space industry and space applications
Global capital - South Africa as a recognised global space citizen.
Our impact is derived from merging and repackaging the existing national capacity, competence, experience, skills and expertise in space science and technology into six thematic focus areas.
Collect, process and distribute earth observation data to support South Africa's policy-making, decision-making, planning, disaster management, resource & environmental management, economic growth and sustainable development initiatives.
Providing state-of-the-art ground station facilities and services, including satellite tracking, telemetry and command as well as launch support, in-orbit testing, mission control and satellite-based navigation.
Creating and utilising knowledge, developing human capital and advancing science by studying everything above the surface of the Earth, from the planet's atmosphere to the edges of the universe.
Leading the technical development of space systems and sub-systems by operating a national assembly, integration and test (AIT) facility and supplying related services locally and internationally.
Science Advancement and Public Engagement
Increasing the uptake and appreciation of science among our youth and improving the overall scientific literacy and engagement of the general public.
Human Capital Development
Training South Africans in key areas of national importance, developing scarce and transferable skills and contributing to transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy.