Minister to unveil first data from ZACube-2

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The first real-time data from South Africa's ZACube-2 nanosatellite will be unveiled on Tuesday, according to the Department of Science and Technology.

The continent’s most advanced nanosatellite to date, the ZACube-2 was successfully launched into space in December. It is expected to provide cutting edge remote sensing and communication services to South Africa and the region. 

The satellite will help monitor ocean traffic as part of the oceans economy and also monitor veld fires and provide near real-time fire information ensuring a quick response time by disaster management teams.

The satellite was developed by some of South Africa’s youngest and brightest minds under a programme representing the country’s diversity, in particular black students and young women.

According to the department, the satellite is a technology demonstrator for Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) that will provide critical information for the county’s oceans economy.

It will monitor the movement of ships along the South African coastline with its automatic identification system (AIS) payload.

Weighing just four kilograms, the ZACube-2 is South Africa’s second nanosatellite to be launched into space and three times the size of its predecessor, TshepisoSat.

It is regarded as the continent's most advanced cube satellite and is in fact a precursor to the MDASat - a constellation of nine nanosatellites that will be developed to provide cutting-edge very high frequency data exchange communication systems to the maritime industry.

CPUT has already received useful AIS data from ZACube-2, which was fed into the National Oceans and Coastal Information Management System of Operation Phakisa.

The unveiling of the first data from ZACube-2 will take place during the plenary briefing to be led by Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

There will also be an overpass of ZACube-2 as it orbits the earth between 11:33 and 11:45. –