South Africa’s Minister for Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, was joined by France’s ambassador to South Africa, Christophe Farnaud, at a ceremony held on 17 April 2018 at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for the send-off the ZACUBE-2 Cubesat to India from where it will be launched later in 2018.
ZACUBE-2 was built by a team of students and faculty from CPUT in cooperation with experts from the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI), an organisation affiliated with the University of Montpellier in France, the French Embassy, and the Paris Chamber of Commerce. F’SATI facilitates and enables technology and skills transfer, and in this case have significantly helped the CPUT satellite programme build ZACUBE-2.
The ZACUBE-2 is a 10 x 10 x 10 x 30 centimeters Cubesat that will monitor the South African coastline and provide surveillance for forest and wildfire outbreaks with a sensor developed by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Other institutions, companies, and organisations have also contributed to the development of ZACUBE-2, including Stone Three, the University of Stellenbosch, Astrofica, Luvhone Consulting, Spaceteq, Etse Electronics, and the programme’s industry partner Clyde Space, the Scottish small satellite company.
ZACUBE-1 was launched in 2013, and was also built in cooperation with F’SATI, and it is intended that ZACUBE-2 will be the precursor to a constellation of small Earth observation satellites built by CPUT and its partners over the next four years, to be known as Operation Phakisa.
The entire project is being funded by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and is being managed by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). As well as being a precursor satellite for Operation Phakisa, the objective of ZACUBE-2 is to help develop the South African space industrial base, and help establish a network for future national and international space collaboration.
“SANSA strives to grow the local space industry through product, services and skills development. Supporting such programmes as ZACUBE-2, enables the country to benefit from trained and experienced young space engineering experts,” said Dr. Val Munsami, SANSA’s Chief Executive Officer.