Launch of South African satellite ZACUBE-1 [fr]
The French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) have made history with the launch of South Africa’s first CubeSat, a type of nanosatellite, ZACUBE-1.
The satellite was launched from Yasny Launch Base in Russia on 21 November 2013 at 9:10 SA time and was placed in orbit at an altitude of 600km. It first overpassed at 9:33 SA time.
A ceremony has been organized in the morning at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). French Ambassador in South Africa Elisabeth Barbier expressed via videoconference satisfaction for the project, which is a first for the country.
Measuring 10x10x10cm and weighing 1.2kg, this CubeSat is about 100 times smaller than Sputnik, the first satellite launched into space in 1957.
ZACUBE-1 was designed and built by postgraduate students following the CubeSat Programme at the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) in collaboration with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).
F’SATI is at the forefront of developing the human skills capacity in satellite development for South Africa and the rest of the African continent. The programme is supported and funded by the Department of Science and Technology. Director of F’SATI in CPUT, Prof Robert Van Zyl, says the strength of the CubeSat Programme is its utilisation of CubeSats as technology platforms for practical, hands-on skills training and applied research. “This approach offers our students a unique learning experience and prepares them very well to participate in the South African space industry,” he says. This initiative is funded by the Department of Science and Technology, the South African National Space Agency, National Research Foundation and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
The team at CPUT is already busy developing ZACUBE-2, which will be three times larger than the first.