South Africa


Jean-Pascal Le Franc,CNES Director of Planning, International Relations and Quality and Dr Valanathan Munsami, CEO of SANSA signing the MoU

The National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) have signed an agreement that paths the way for future joint space projects between the two countries. The agreement was signed in the presence of France’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu.

The agreement targets the following areas of cooperation: space operations, space science, Earth observation, telecommunications, applications, research and technology. The two agencies will also coordinate on international regulatory matters, the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” and the training of engineers.

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Publishing Date: 26/04/2019
Image of South Africa acquired on 19 June 2010 by ESA's Envisat satellite. Image: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, through its UN-SPIDER programme, has activated the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" on behalf of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDC) of South Africa for the recent floods and mudslides in the country. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) is acting as project manager for this activation.

Heavy rainfall has been affecting eastern South Africa over the past few days, causing floods and landslides in Durban and the surrounding KwaZulu-Natal province. According to... read more

Publishing Date: 26/04/2019
Participants at EvIDENz stakeholder workshop in Pretoria, South Africa.

Experts from the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), the United Nations... read more

Publishing Date: 04/06/2018
EvIDENz workshop in Bonn.

The project on Earth Observation Based Information Products for Drought Risk Reduction at the National Level (EvIDENz) conducted a workshop from 21 to 22 September at the United Nations Campus in Bonn to present its mid-term results. The event brought together project partners, scientists, policy-makers, practitioners and representatives of governmental institutions.

During the workshop, participants discussed information, knowledge and methods related to drought risk assessment and reduction strategies using the example of case studies in South Africa and Ukraine. More specifically, they focused on:

Publishing Date: 28/09/2017
True-colour MODIS satellite image of South Africa (Image: NASA)

Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) has signed an agreement with the South African National Space Agency’s (SANSA), which allows the African institution to access and download imagery captured by SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 satellites. Additionally, a Direct Receiving Station was installed at SANSA’s facilities in order to cover the entire country (1 221 000 km²) at a very high resolution.

SPOT (Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre) 6 and 7 satellites are 1.5-metre-resolution optical imaging Earth... read more

Publishing Date: 25/08/2015
Satellite image of Cape Town, South Africa (Image: NASA)

Last 16 of July the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the South African Space Agency (SANSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase collaboration in scientific projects related to space.

Both institutions will share infrastructure and knowledge in fields including applications for weather monitoring, climate change and satellite information. Areas covered in this document include making UKSA satellite data accessible to SADC users and SANSA being access point for NovaSar data in South Africa.

"I am delighted to sign... read more

Publishing Date: 28/07/2015
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, captured by the Proba-V satellite in January 2015 (Image: ESA/VITO)

South Africa will launch an Earth observation satellite in 2019, as the head of the South African National Space Agency Sansa, Sandile Malinge, announced to a newspaper.

In doing so, South Africa would like to have their own data readily available instead of relying on international satellites. According to the newspaper Mail & Guardian, Sansa buys Spot-6... read more

Publishing Date: 07/04/2015
Group picture of the participants of the workshop on digital elevation models

A UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER expert participated in the 4th meeting of the CEOS Working Group on Capacity Building and Data Democracy (WGCapD) from 18 to 20 March 2015 in Pretoria, South Africa. CEOS is the Commitee on Earth Observation Satellites. UNOOSA is an associate member of CEOS and an active participant in the Working Group.

The overall objective of the WGCapD is building capacity for the effective use of Earth Observation data as well as providing wider and easier access to those data. In its fourth meeting, the participants... read more

Publishing Date: 24/03/2015
QuickBird's final image showing Port Elizabeth in South Africa

On 27 January, the QuickBird Earth Observation satellite re-entered Earth’s atmosphere after 13 years in orbit. It was a satellite of the imagery provider DigitalGlobe and the company's oldest satellite.

DigitalGlobe stated in a press release: "QuickBird made more than 70,000 trips around... read more

Publishing Date: 18/02/2015
South Africa as seen from Space

The South African government has increased investing in space technology in order to build capacities within the country as well as to attract commercial space interests. As a result of this the South African National Space Agency SANSA has contracted Spaceteq, a division of the state run aerospace and defense company Denel Dynamics, to develop the new high resolution multispectral imaging earth observation satellite, EA-SAT-1.

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Publishing Date: 16/07/2014

Supplier of innovative small and medium-sized satellite systems SunSpace says its Sumbandila satellite has paved the way for further research and development into the requirements of a future, locally built, communications satellite over which the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) could have total control. SunSpace executive director Ron Olivier says the Sumbandila satellite proves that a locally designed and built satellite can provide more up-to-date images on conflict and disaster than Google Earth, where images in lesser-known areas are up to 30 years old. Buying images from international suppliers also holds the disadvantages of price... read more

Publishing Date: 24/02/2012

South Africa’s second satellite, SumbandilaSat, is no longer fulfilling its main purpose due to technical problems and is essentially beyond repair, its maker SunSpace says. Ron Olivier, head of Business Development at SunSpace, told defenceWeb that although contact can still be made with the satellite, it cannot capture images and is thus “not fulfilling its main purpose”. He said that chances of repairing the satellite are virtually zero and that SunSpace has moved on to other projects.

SumbandilaSat was damaged during a solar storm in the June last year. The power supply to SumbandilaSat’s onboard computer stopped working and the satellite stopped sending back images. SumbandilaSat has been damaged by solar radiation... read more

Publishing Date: 31/01/2012

Malareo is focusing to develop technology and implement earth observation data that contributes to the fight against malaria in southern Africa. MALAREO compiles a mixed European-African consortium that combines years of experience in malaria control with GMES Earth Observation (EO) capacity.
The project aims to build the fundaments of a malaria EO monitoring cell that will support a more efficient, effective and wider malaria vector... read more

Publishing Date: 15/04/2011

Fulfilling a mandate from the ENHANS International Workshop on Extreme Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk in Africa which was held in Pretoria, South Africa, in January 2011, a comprehensive recommendations document was prepared by a working group. Based on a summary of specific needs, challenges and achievements regarding natural hazards on the African continent, detailed recommendations are given in order to promote interdisciplinary science and education and to improve monitoring and prediction of extreme natural hazards for the benefit of society. In particular, it is proposed to set up the African Centre for Natural Hazards, Disaster Risk Analysis and Management (ACHADEME) as a network of existing research and educational centers, in cooperation with International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU)... read more

Publishing Date: 01/04/2011

South Africa was ill-prepared for the heavy summer rains that have caused flooding in eight of the country’s nine provinces since mid-December, according to disaster management experts and officials, who argue that much of the damage and loss of life could have been avoided by better planning and more investment in disaster management. With dams overflowing and rivers bursting their banks, the government declared a state of disaster in 33 municipalities on 21 January. By 26 January, as rain continued to fall in many parts of the country, the National Disaster Management Centre estimated that 85 lives had been lost and at least 13,000 houses damaged by the floods, while the... read more

Publishing Date: 04/02/2011

The Extreme Natural Hazards And Societal Implications (ENHANS) International Workshop on Extreme Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk in Africa was held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 17 to 20 January 2011. The Workshop was hosted by the Aon Benfield Natural Hazard... read more

Publishing Date: 04/02/2011

South Africa's new national space agency will coordinate the country's major space projects, promote space science research, develop related engineering and technological capacity, and devise and implement a national space programme.

South Africa has some of the best space infrastructure in Africa, and is already heading some notable space projects, including Africa's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array, the Southern African Large Telescope, and the SumbandilaSat satellite.

The South African Space Agency (Sansa) will become the umbrella body that coordinates all these projects, while integrating the country's existing science and technology institutions, such as the Satellite Applications Centre run by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research at Hartebeesthoek, west of Pretoria.


Source: ... read more

Publishing Date: 23/12/2010

UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER was invited to attend the RCMRD 7th Conference of Ministers in Cape Town, South Africa, from 22nd to 23rd November 2010. The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) is an intergovernmental organization with 15 contracting members States from Eastern and Southern African region. The conference of ministers reviewed annual reports, the recent 2007-2010 Strategic Plan as well as approved a new Strategic Plan (2011-2014). Development partners and stakeholders were invited to attend the meeting and discuss on issues and future plans to strengthen partnership with the Centre. UN-SPIDER senior expert Dr. Joerg Szarzynski presented the activities of the office with specific focus on Africa to the attending group of ministers and delegates from 15 countries. The solid collaboration between RCMRD and UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER is already looking back on a number of successful joint activities such as the... read more

Publishing Date: 02/12/2010

South Africa: SumbandilaSat was successfully launched on 17 September at 17:55:09 CAT (Central African Time) after the launch had to be postponed twice, once due to heavy winds and the second attempt due to the fuel pressure in the feed line which was four times too low and thus caused the fueling process to take too long to be completed in time for launch.

The satellite was released from the rocket while over the Antarctic and accessed by the ground station at the Stellenbosch University ten minutes later when the first command was sent to 'wake up' the satellites. Despite the low elevation... read more

Publishing Date: 23/09/2009

Bidding for the construction of two ground receiver stations will be opened soon by Kamal Ewida Earth Observatory, quoted Mail & Guardian.

Kamal Ewida Earth Observatory, currently seeking a site in Egypt, is a joint project by South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Egypt's National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences.

The project will enable the rapid processing of information received from satellites monitoring Africa, in order to improve disaster relief... read more

Publishing Date: 03/09/2009

The Advancing Information and Communication Technology for Disaster risk management in Africa (AÏDA) project aims at sharing knowledge about affordable ICT solutions in support of DRM in Africa.
In the framework of this project, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is disseminating a series of products to mitigate the effects of the fire season which begins in June in South Africa. As part of the trial, the Forest Fire Association (FFA) in Nelspruit, South Africa, will use wildfire alarms developed by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)... read more

Publishing Date: 31/07/2009


AfricaGEO Conference & Exhibition aims at facilitating interaction, discussion, collaboration and capacity building amongst participants. It will provide a platform to share the latest developments in the industry of surveying and geo-information (including remote sensing and aerial imagery) for a variety of applications in Africa, including disaster management and sustainable development. The Conference and Exhibition will include a variety of keynote talks, academic panels, workshops, tutorials and industry expos.... read more

The Stakeholder Workshop on Earth observation-based information products for drought risk on a national basis (EviDENz) occurred from 4 to 8 June 2018 in Pretoria and Eastern Cape, South Africa.


Objectives and Expected Outcomes

The objective of the EvIDENz stakeholder workshop was to make decision makers and technical staff of several institutions of South Africa aware of the workflow developed by ZFL and UNU-EHS to contribute to the estimation of the impacts of droughts on crops and livestock, to understand drought risks and to discuss a methodological approach to implement the use of the workflow. In addition, the workshop was used... read more

Regional Support Offices mentioned:

Space technology and its wide range of applications contribute essential information and services to many aspects of sustainable development, that is, economic and social development and environmental conservation and protection. Small satellite missions are becoming increasingly important in supporting these roles of space technology, as well as in the advancement of basic space science and technology, notably through capacity building. In 2009, the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, implemented by the Office for Outer Space Affairs, launched the Basic Space Technology Initiative (BSTI) in support of capacity-building for the development of basic space technology.

The present and fourth Symposium will be held as the United Nations/South... read more


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