Tuesday, September 24, 2013

■ SOUTH AFRICA: Denel establishes Spaceteq, a new satellite & space engineering unit within Denel Dynamics.

DenelSouth African state owned aerospace and defence technology conglomerate, Denel SOC,  has announced the formation of Spaceteq, a new business unit within Denel Dynamics, set to focus on the satellite and  space engineering sector. The initiative is inline with the South African government's Departments of Science & Technology (DST) and Trade & Industry (DTI) call to exploit high-technology manufacturing niches, among which is satellite production.

According to Riaz Saloojee, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Denel, Spaceteq will strengthen the group’s position as a leader in innovative and advanced aerospace systems and technology.
Denel Spaceteq is well positioned to play a central role in this national strategy,” he said.
The new company forms part of Denel Dynamics which has been exploring opportunities in satellite and space engineering in collaboration with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the DST since 2011.

Berthold Alheit, General Manager of Denel Spaceteq says its first project is to develop a multispectral, high-resolution, earth observation satellite called EO-Sat1 for operation by SANSA by 2017. This satellite will be used in the areas of food security, urban planning and development, safety and security and support for disaster management.

Denel Spaceteq will represent South Africa at the 64th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Beijing, China from 23 – 27 September 2013. The annual IAC’s 2013 theme is: promoting space development for the benefit of mankind.
While the space domain is a new frontier for the African continent and for Denel Spaceteq, the time is right to market South Africa’s strong engineering capability and our culture of cooperation internationally,” says Mr Alheit. “Spaceteq’s capabilities can be applied to the advancement of solving difficult and large engineering problems in the space arena.
Denel Dynamics attended its first IAC in Cape Town in 2011 after teaming up with the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) supported by the DTI, and was involved in previous space programmes until 1996. It has a latent space capability, including key staff working for Denel on various programmes, as well as the Houwteq satellite test facility near Grabouw.

The adsorption of numerous high-end engineers and scientists into Denel Dynamics from struggling satellite manufacturing firm, SunSpace, in July and their experience with the the SunSat and Sumbandilasat programmes will reap its first fruits with the roll out of EO-Sat1, which incorporates various elements from Sumbandilasat.

The benefit of a local Space industry will be far reaching. 

South Africa's access to, and control over, its own satellites will ensure advanced surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Retaining and developing technology and engineering skills within the country’s borders will have a much broader national technological benefit and inspire young talent in the much needed fields of maths and science.