The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) came into being in December 2010, but South Africa’s involvement with space research and activities started many decades earlier with helping early international space efforts in the second half of the 20th century, and observing the Earth’s magnetic field at stations around Southern Africa.
SANSA was created to promote the use of space and strengthen cooperation in space-related activities while fostering research in space science, advancing scientific engineering through developing human capital, and supporting industrial development in space technologies.
The research and work carried out at SANSA focuses on space science, engineering and technology that can promote development, build human capital and provide important national services. Much of this work involves monitoring the Earth and its surrounding environment, and using the collected data to ensure that navigation, communication technology and weather forecasting services function as intended.
SANSA’s Head Office in Pretoria oversees SANSA operations and management the Earth Observation programme (currently based in Hartebeesthoek); the Space Operations programme (formerly the Satellite Application Centre, located in Hartebeesthoek); and the Space Science programme (former Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, located in Hermanus); as well as a newly-established Space Engineering programme situated alongside the Head Office.