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25 Nov 2008 17:59
South Africa’s second satellite is scheduled to be launched in March next year, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Tuesday.
Dlamini-Zuma was speaking in Durban at a session of the intergovernmental committee on trade and economic cooperation (Itec) between South Africa and Russia.
She said the satellite would be launched on March 25, weather permitting.
The 80kg satellite—built at a cost of R25-million—would be carried into space by a Russian rocket.
The primary payload would be for observing the Earth, and would feed data back to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s centre in Hartebeeshoek.
The images it sent could help with monitoring climate change.
The satellite, which is expected to have a lifespan of between five and seven years, will also facilitate communications for amateur radio and some small scientific experiments.
South Africa’s first satellite was launched in 1999 and was taken into orbit by Nasa.
Dlamini-Zuma said she believed the money spent on the satellite was “cost effective”.
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