New SA nanosatellite launched into space

The Department of Science and Technology's deputy director-general, Mmboneni Muofhe, says this is a new chapter in SA's technology sector.

Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane in the clean room with senior engineer Nyameko Royi and the ZACube-2. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Science and Technology says it launched the country's most advanced satellite into space on Thursday.

ZACube-2 is a nanosatellite that weighs less than 4kg and is expected to help with the monitoring of disasters and veld fires and other emergencies.

The R16.5 million satellite blasted into orbit from Russia on Thursday along with nanosatellites from Germany, Japan, United States and Spain.

The department's deputy director-general, Mmboneni Muofhe, says this is a new chapter in SA's technology sector.

“The satellite is going to collect information about what is happening in our oceans. This includes surveilling and reporting on the ships that are on our shores. When we have a sense of which ships are on our shores, we can communicate with them to see which ones are there legally or illegally.”

Muofhe says this will help protect the country from trespassers.

“We also deal with thieves that are fishing illegally on our shores. In some instances, there are other illegal activities such as piracy. So, this particular satellite will be assisting with those issues.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)