When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in July 1969, SA’s Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory helped make it happen by assisting with communication with his spacecraft. Now, five decades later, the facility’s bosses are negotiating to deepen the country’s involvement in the return to the moon planned by the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (Nasa) for 2024.

In February the SA National Space Agency (Sansa) signed an agreement with Nasa to explore the creation in SA of a new ground station to support the Artemis Program, the US project to send the first woman to the moon within four years – and eventually to send a crewed mission to Mars.

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