Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo Highlights the Progress of the South African Space Command Section

Source: DefenceWeb

According to reports by Defense Web, the momentum for establishing a dedicated Space Command Section within the South African Air Force (SAAF) is increasing. During the  Commission and Wings Insignia Parade at Air Force Base (AFB) at Langebaanweg, Cape Town, the Chief of the South African Air Force, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo, highlighted the progress made thus far on the establishment of the South African Space Command Section (SASCS).

Per the reports, establishing SASCS represents a notable advancement for South Africa, reflecting the country’s renewed focus on space exploration and technology. Similarly, this development holds great potential for defence and beneficial impacts across multiple sectors, such as telecommunications, agriculture, and environmental monitoring. Thus, to facilitate the smooth implementation of South Africa’s National Space Strategy, the Space Command Integrated Planning Team (SCIPT) was formed to lead the establishment of a dedicated SASCS within the South African Air Force (SAAF). In addition, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo noted that the SCIPT consists of highly skilled military practitioners and has achieved significant advancements within a short period since its establishment in 2022.

The team has actively collaborated with numerous stakeholders from public and private entities at both local and international levels. This collaborative approach has fostered a unified effort in implementing the national space strategy. The SCIPT has nearly completed the groundwork, including mapping local capabilities and incorporating future planning mechanisms from industry experts and the federal government. At the local level, the SCIPT has partnered with key industry partners, including the National Earth Observation Space Secretariat (NEOSS), the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).  

Furthermore, the SCIPT has undertaken several international engagements to ensure SAAF aligns with the best global practices. Moreso, a bilateral engagement with the Italian Air Force has already occurred to gain insights and experiences from implementing the Italian Defence Force Space Operations Command. In addition, other arrangements with other allied nations are underway, cementing South Africa’s commitment to embracing international standards and knowledge.

“By leveraging these collaborations,” Mbambo explained, “the SAAF is positioning itself at the forefront of space capabilities, actively contributing to national development.”

Furthermore, Mbambo expressed SAAF’s appreciation of the invaluable contributions of organisations such as the National Earth Observation Space Secretariat (NEOSS), the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in shaping the future of space exploration and defence capabilities. Moreover, Mbambo observed, the SAAF remains steadfast in its commitment to inspire and educate future generations of aviators and space explorers through its ambitious space programme.

In 2022, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo announced the formation of SASCS during the Air and Space Power Symposium. This new section was expected to manage and coordinate all defence-related space activities, collaborating with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and other government agencies.

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