South Africa Affirms Loss of an Earth Observation Satellite and Plans Another

by Matt Ball on September 22, 2011

South Africa’s only earth observation satellite Sumbandila has been out of contact and has failed to download any imagery since July, according to an announcement this week from the South African National Space Agency (Sansa). The failure of the two-year-old imaging satellite is being attributed to a blast of solar radiation, and may be unrecoverable given its current tumbling orbit and the depletion of power on onboard batteries.

This first observation satellite was built by Stellenbosch-based company Sun Space & Information Systems (SunSpace) and operated by Sansa on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology. Sansa has indicated that they are now embarking on a three to four-year development project to build another satellite with an expected budget of R400-million.

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