South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has sourced for a R4.4 billion (USD260 million) investor funding at the sustainable infrastructure development symposium. The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will receive R3 billion (USD177 million) to develop and design up to six satellites in the next four years. The total funding will incubate South Africa’s Space hub.
This information was disclosed by the CEO of SANSA, Val Munsami.
While speaking to newsmen, Munsami noted that the agency has received R150 million (USD8.8 million) Parliamentary grant annually. “If we hadn’t gotten the [space] infrastructure hub funding and just had to go along with the [National] Treasury allocation, it would have taken us decades to look at strengthening the space value chain we’re considering now”.
Speaking on the primary project of the space hub, Munsami said: “We are looking to build half a dozen satellites in the next three to four years, as well as the ground infrastructure to support these missions”. Munsami also commented on how the total R4.5 billion (USD 266 million) will be spent, he mentioned that “the majority of that R4.5 billion will be spent in [the] industry. We are creating that ecosystem, bringing in the industry to be contracted to develop that value chain”.
Sansa has also secured more than R300 million (USD17.7 million) in addition to the billions allocated for the space infrastructure hub. This includes R150 million (USD8.8) to upgrade its space weather centre, which is now one of a global network and will provide space weather data 24/7, and a concurrent design facility.
The facility, with a price tag of R25 million (USD1.4 million), will allow engineers to “design a satellite in three to four weeks, instead of 12-14 months”, Munsami says. “It saves a third of the cost and allows you to get the design out of the door quicker”.