Sumbandila commemorative stamps now available

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pretoria - About 100 000 commemorative stamps depicting the Sumbandila satellite are now available countrywide at a cost of R2.50 each.

South Africa's SumbandilaSat was launched in Russia in 2009. It carries a high-resolution camera that produces images for use in monitoring agriculture, mapping infrastructure and land use, tracking population movement, and measuring the water levels of dams. 

The satellite is the country's second satellite to launch off into space after Sunsat, the first satellite from Africa and the Southern Hemisphere which blasted into space in 1999.

Receiving the stamps on Friday, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the stamps were an acknowledgement of South Africa's remarkable achievement in launching its own satellite and reinforced South Africa's role in national, regional and international space initiatives.

"The commemorative stamps we are launching here today is a testimony to the success of SumbandilaSat. Our emphasis is on encouraging space science research and development," the minister said.

Pandor said it was time for South Africa to acknowledge its own talent. 

As of today, the satellite has been orbiting for one year and 192 days and has completed 8 480 orbits.

Pandor said she was proud of the Sumbandila story. "[It is] our own home grown innovation story, from the development of local technologies to the development of competencies in satellite mission controls."

South African National Space Agency (SANSA) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Malinga, referred to SumbandilaSat as a stepping stone for the development of other satellites. - BuaNews

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