The whales will sing again as members of the South African Nation Antarctic Expedition 58 crew returns to Cape Town, having been away for 14 months. The crew left South Africa in December 2018 on a winter expedition at the South Africa research facilities in SANAE IV in Antarctica in an upgrade and maintenance expedition.
The outwintering crew, as reported by SANAP website, will arrive onboard the S. A. Agulhas II, a well-equipped research and supply vessel, measuring 134.2 m in overall length and 21.7 m in breadth, with a draught of 7.65 m, gross tonnage of 12897 ton and net tonnage of 3840 ton. The ship was built by STX in Finland to the latest passenger specifications and the highest possible standards and is rated as ice-class PC-5.
The S. A. Agulhas II will anchor at Cape Town Harbour at East Pier, along with the takeover team consisting of Department of Environment, Forest and Fisheries, Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and researchers. Maintainance and research at the facilities have been handed over to the new SANAE 59 team that left on December 2019.
The South African National Space Agency(SANSA) owns and operates a suite of instruments at the South African Nation Antarctic Expedition base, SANAE IV, in Droning Maud Land, Antarctica. The infrastructure operates all year round and provides near real-time data, critical to the provision of services, which protect the country’s national assets, both in space and on the ground, against the adverse effects of Space Weather phenomena.
Long term data sets are also collected throughout the year and repatriated to South Africa using the polar logics and research vessel the SA Agulhas II. This data is used for fundamental research in the fields of Geomagnetism, ionospheric and magnetospheric physics to enhance the understanding of the interactions between the sun and our near-Earth-Space environment.
Space in Africa welcomes the SANAE 58 back home!
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.