In December 2008, President Kgalema Motlanthe signed into law the South African National Space Agency Act, providing for a South African space program. Yesterday, 9 December 2010, minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandoor unveiled the new South African National Space Agency (SANSA). South Africa already posesses a great deal of space technology, including launch facilities, which were built as part of the previous regime’s nuclear weapons program. Part of SANSA’s mandate is to take these facilities out of mothballs and refurbish them for peacful purposes. South Africa already maintains several satellites in orbit (most notably SumbandilaSat), and SANSA intends to expand from this to give South Africa a serious presence in space.
SASA’s mission requires it to offer the following services to the country:
- Earth observation
- Navigation and positioning
- Space science and exploration
With the opening of SANSA, South Africa joins Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt in bringing Africa to space.