The South African space agency's satelitte, SumbandilaSat, ended its life and was taken off orbit

Credit: SANSA - SumbandilaSat satellite used for earth Observation
Credit: SANSA - SumbandilaSat satellite used for earth Observation

News! After many years of activity and observation of the Earth, the South African satellite of the South African Space Agency (SANSA) has ended its missions and with it its life in space. It was dropped from orbit by SANSA late on December 10, 2021. The satellite made 1,128 of very good quality that are used even now. It made these images and many other observations of the Earth for 12 years, from 2099 to 2021. The SumbandilaSat satellite also worked for ESA's Copernicus program, for which it provided information and images (formerly the Copernicus program called GMES). This satellite also photographed the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which was then very useful. The satellite also photographed the Tuscaloosa tornado in the US and provided important information about it, so immediate action was taken. 

The South African Government's DST (Department of Science and Technology) commissioned Stellenbosch University and SunSpace in May 2009 to begin construction and production of the telescope, which was then called ZASat, and was later renamed SumbandilaSat. After the design and construction were completed, as well as all the tests done, the satellite was launched. On September 17, 2009 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan launched one of SANSA's top performing satellites. 

The worst thing when the satellite was launched was that it arrived in space just as the Sun was making its 24th solar cycle. This caused the satellite to be exposed to very high levels of radiation. No wonder why no one foresaw this or did not realize it. If the satellite had not been launched right then, it could probably still be on Earth's orbit. but due to high-level radiation, the satellite began to lose altitude, according to SANSA. On September 14, 2011, the satellite provided the latest data on its main function. After two years of huge success, when the satellite was one of the best at the time, it began to drop in altitude. And today, the satellite will most likely burn when it enters Earth's atmosphere. 

Despite the conditions under which was exposed, SumbandilaSat did not give up. Even though it has only given data on its main function for 2 years, SumbandilaSat has continued to send extremely important information and images for the next 10 years, a total of 12 since its launch. It all ends today. But the images and information that the satellite gave are still used today.

SANSA claims that this mission with this satellite developed the agency's space industry and space engineering. SANSA said in a post that: "Dr. Val Munsami, CEO of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), says the Sumbandila mission has demonstrated South Africa's capacity in space engineering and paved the way for several missions through satellite, as part of the Space Infrastructure Hub (SIH), which is currently under development. SIH will see a suite of different classes of satellites to be launched in the coming years, based on the legacy created by the Sumbandila mission. " 

But there is something good about it. SANSA also announced that because of this, it has started to establish the ZACUBE 1 and 2 nanosatellite missions by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Thus, in the satellite constellation where South Africa is, it will have 7 more satellites. These satellites will be used to develop the program to support Operation Phakisa (monitoring the marine environment and the economy), according to SANSA. 

We wish SANSA success for future missions. 

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 11 December 2021, at 08:28 am Los Angeles time

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