Govt's stake in SunSpace approved

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretoria - Cabinet has approved a majority equity stake in SunSpace, a private company set up as a spin-off of the satellite development research programme, at the University of Stellenbosch. 

Cabinet had approved that government acquire an equity share of between 55 percent and 60 percent in Sunspace in principle at its meeting in February. This has now been approved.

Cabinet spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, said on Thursday funding to keep SunSpace intact will be made available through the usual budget processes of government. The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, is expected to outline the details soon.

SunSpace has undertaken a number of space programmes, including the design, development and manufacturing of the Sumbandila Satellite that was launched into space last year.

The R26 million SumbandilaSat was launched in Kazakhstan in September. The low-orbit satellite was commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology and implemented by Stellenbosch University's engineering faculty.

It formed part of an integrated national space programme developed by government to provide the country with affordable access to space technology and data. 

The satellite was expected to orbit about 500km to 600km above the earth, carrying high resolution cameras to produce images of the earth. The data was to be used in the management of natural disasters such as floods, fires and oil spills in southern Africa. - BuaNews