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South Africa space agency earns global recognition

South Africa’s international reputation has also been enhanced, with the country now seen as a leading player in the space science sector. (Image source: NASA)

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has been selected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as the designated regional provider of space weather information to the entire aviation sector using African airspace

The announcement was made by the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa.

This means that every aircraft flying in the continent's airspace will rely on SANSA for the space weather information it needs to submit as part of its flight plan.

SANSA, an entity of the Department of Science and Technology, underwent an extensive assessment to make it one of two ICAO- designated regional space weather centres, the other being a joint Russia- China centre.

The department said that the ICAO designation of SANSA offers an opportunity to further use the newly renovated space weather centre in Hermanus, Western Cape.

The newly upgraded centre’s monitoring of the sun and its activity have provided the country with vital early warnings and forecasts on space weather conditions, and these benefits will now be extended to the international aviation community.

SANSA will partner with one of the ICAO's three global space weather centres, PECASUS, the Pan-European Consortium for Aviation Space Weather User Services, to provide ICAO with space weather information for the African region.

PECASUS is a consortium of nine European countries, and its partners will provide South Africa with better access to international models and expertise.

This victory comes shortly after the launch of the continent’s most advanced nanosatellite so far, the ZACube-2, in December 2018.

The international community has supported South Africa’s ICAO designation and has demonstrated confidence in SANSA’s ability to provide the services required.

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