SANSA and DLR Renew their Space Collaboration Interests


LtoR – Hansjorg Dittus (DLR exec Board); Pascale Ehrenfreund (DLR Chairman) and Dr Val Munsami (SANSA CEO)

On 27 September 2017, on the margins of the 68th International Astronautics Conference (IAC) taking place in Adelaide, Australia, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. (DLR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

This is the first extension of the MoU that was signed on 12 July 2012, thus confirming the party’s intentions to continue with joint collaborative activities. Under the first MoU a number of successful initiatives have been implemented, which include the launch and hosting of an optical space laboratory in Sutherland, Western Cape, that will track space debris up to the geostationary orbit. In addition, an international Space Weather Camp has been initiated involving eight students each from South Africa, Germany and the United States.

The focus of the new MoU will be in the following areas:

a. Earth Observation

i. Research on optical, thermal, hyperspectral and radar remote sensing (RS) methods and applications, e.g. in the following fields

• Mining, soils and hydrology

• Vegetation and land use/land cover

• Urban development and informal settlements

• Marine and maritime applications

ii. RS of the atmosphere, e.g. co-operation within the Network for the
Detection of Mesopause Change (NDMC)

iii. Development of RS services, particularly in

– Supporting disaster management activities

– Fire mapping and monitoring (incl. using FireBird constellation

iv. Data management and processing (Big Data and Cloud)

b. Space Operations

– Exchange and Co-operation concerning

i. Ground stations (incl. cooperation on FireBIRD data receiving activities)

ii. Satellite operation

iii. Data relay systems

c. Space Sciences and Technology

– Research and development with regard to, e.g.

– Navigation systems

– Space weather

– Infrared sensors

– Collaborative scientific research with regards to co-publishing

d. Capacity building

– Exchange on innovative concepts of space-related education and outreach activities (e.g. SAR-EDU, DLR_School_Labs)

– Joint student development projects such as camps, school, etc (possibly also in the framework of the Pan African Space University project)

e. Space engineering

– Micro Satellite Technologies

– Space Acquisition Management

– System engineering methodologies for Space Acquisition

– Spacecraft sub-systems design

– Mission and payload types Spacecraft configuration

– Cost engineering

– Space and Spacecraft Environment: radiation, vacuum, debris, spacecraft charging, material behavior and outgassing.

– Assembly, Integration and Test processes

– Reliability engineering

– Quality system for space missions


Vaneshree Maharaj