In our bid to promote the commercial space ecosystem in Africa, we recently announced the #NewSpaceAfrica column aimed at featuring the story of a new Space startup in Africa, promoting their work and giving insight on how they are contributing to building the commercial space ecosystem in Africa. In this week’s edition, we are featuring Astrofica – a South African start up founded by Jessie Ndaba and Khalid Manjoo.
Astrofica (name coined from Astro + Africa) is an engineering company providing solutions and services across high-technology sectors. Sectors chosen as part of their profile include Space, Renewable Energy, Rail and Transport and Telecommunications. They are interested and keen to be involved in all aspects across the value chains of each of these sectors, from system design to integration to infrastructure to end-user applications.
The company was an aspiration/dream by both Jessie and Khalid ever since they met as interns back in 2006 on the SumbandilaSat program, the first government satellite under the directorship of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa. They always shared similar values, aspiration and enthusiasm for how space science and technology could impact socio-economic and human capital development on the African continent. Little did they know, the plan of the universe to converge their dreams under the Astrofica banner more than a decade later.
Astrofica is just over one-and-a-half year’s old. In this time, they have managed to work and support two amazing projects: the Assembly Integration and Testing (AIT) of ZACube2 cubesat project through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and as consultants on the review of the South African Space Framework under mandate of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with Blueprint Holdings.
“I believe the value proposition of Astrofica lies in a combination of our 100% transformation status and more importantly technical competencies gained over our aggregated 24 years of experience in the Space sector. I often see Astrofica as a blue ocean, operating in an uncontested market space and where competition is, surprising to many, viewed as partners. As proud products of the DST and industry, we often see Astrofica as an enabler to both Government and industry ventures as progressing space science and technology in the country and continent is a big part of our vision and mission.
Plans for 2019 and moving forward, I would like to see Astrofica participate in the wider SA space program, specifically in project management, AIT and satellite facility establishment. From here, we would like to springboard and expand into the renewable energy and telecommunications sector with not only consultancy services but also the opportunity to invest in R&D of an integrated solution which is currently in the concept and evaluation phase. We are excited to explore opportunities across the continent and partner with similar minded young entrepreneurs to together pioneer Africa and its people forward to its rightful place in the Global economy.” – – Khalid Manjoo – Astrofica Co-founder.
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