SANSA Launches New 24-Hour, State-Of-The-Art Regional Space Weather Centre in Hermanus

 N Mkhatshwa

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has launched South Africa's new 24-hour, state-of-the-art regional Space Weather Centre in Hermanus, Western Cape on Thursday, 3 November 2022.

We had the honour of joining the Minister Nzimande and the Department of Science and Innovation at the launch of this international space weather centre, which is one (1) out of five (5) in the world and the only one on the African continent.

The Space Weather Centre provides an important service to the nation by monitoring the sun and its activity to provide information, early warnings and forecasts on space weather conditions. This helps us with communication and navigation systems, in the defence, aeronautics, navigation and communication sectors.

Transformation and impact remain critical agendas in the national system of innovation; thus, it is exciting to see this historic development being led by an African woman and a cohort of space weather forecasters with a 90% representation of young, black women, some coming directly from Hermanus. This illustration of South African excellence, was a R107.5 million project that was concluded within time and within budget; and inclusive of locals from Hermanus.

Globally recognised, this space weather capability has led to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) selecting SANSA as one of the two regional centres to provide space weather services, including solar storm forecasts and warnings to the global aviation sector. 

We congratulate the DSI and SANSA on the successful implementation of this project!