Cabinet has approved a partnership between the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to host a deep space ground station locally.
The station, which will be based in Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape, will support human spaceflight missions to the Moon, Mars, “and beyond”, Cabinet stated.
South Africa’s deep space ground station will be integrated into an existing network of three sites in the United States of America, Spain, and Australia.
As the fourth site, it will complement the other three sites and provide improved coverage and redundancy for critical mission support.
SANSA will operate, maintain, and manage the station.
“The station will benefit South Africa in, amongst others, the development of scarce skills and the growth of the science, engineering, technology and innovation sector,” Cabinet said in a statement.
“It will also provide opportunities to feed the knowledge economy, and increase the national research output in space science and technology.”