Launching satellite is space agency’s big focus
The new South African National Space Agency CEO Val Munsami puts a lot of stock in the AU’s plans for space and skills developments, writes Sarah Wild
Every day, the new South African National Space Agency (Sansa) CEO’s to-do list grows. But so do Val Munsami’s ambitions for the agency. The former deputy director-general in the Department of Science and Technology who has been in the role since the start of 2017, is filled with the excitement of someone who had been watching Sansa’s activities and now can mould its direction. The agency, established six years ago to oversee SA’s activities in space and the use of space-related data, reports to the department, but "is an agency of all government", Munsami says. With an area of 1.2-million square kilometres — about 10 Englands — SA has a lot of land and activities to monitor, including agricultural production, urban encroachment and the health of water systems. This does not include its large ocean territory. The most efficient way to do this is with satellites. In 2010, when the National Space Strategy was published, it noted that "SA is increasingly reliant on space-based services...