The ZACube-2 will provide cutting edge remote sensing and communication services to South Africa and the region.
“This satellite will help us monitor our ocean traffic as part of our oceans economy and also monitor veld fires and provide near real-time fire information ensuring a quick response time by disaster management teams.
“Science is indeed helping us resolve the challenges of our society,” Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said in a statement on Thursday.
The Minister said she is proud that the satellite was developed by some of South Africa’s youngest and brightest minds under a program representing the country’s diversity, in particular black students and young women.
According to the Department of Science and Technology, the satellite is a technology demonstrator for Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) that will provide critical information for the county’s oceans economy.
It will monitor the movement of ships along the South African coastline with its automatic identification system (AIS) payload.
“It is regarded as the continent’s most advanced cube satellite and is in fact a precursor to the MDASat – a constellation of nine nanosatellites that will be developed to provide cutting-edge very high frequency data exchange communication systems to the maritime industry,” the department said.
The department’s entity, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), in cooperation with the University of Montpellier, the French Embassy and the Paris Chamber of Commerce, manages the project.