France and South Africa step up cooperation in Space
(Image: pixabay.com)

5 February 2021

CNES and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) consolidated their partnership through an implementing arrangement for the framework cooperation agreement the two space agencies signed in 2019. France and South Africa will thus be working closely together in the fields of climate research, monitoring of malaria zones from space and nanosatellite technologies.

This new agreement is part of a broader drive to strengthen scientific ties and exchanges between France and South Africa in areas of mutual interest and to better respond to global issues and challenges.

This closer space cooperation between France and South Africa, aside from France’s satellite and launcher communications station in Hartebeesthoek since 1964, has three objectives.

The first is to contribute to the implementation of the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), through its SCO Africa offshoot. The SCO mobilizes space expertise at the global level to assess and monitor the consequences of climate change. It aims to become an important tool to inform decision-making.

In the field of nanosatellites, the two space agencies will study the interoperability capabilities of French and South African satellite constellations, in particular for the collection of marine and environmental data. They will also work together to train instructors in cubesat technologies (specifically, nanosatellites) in particular by contributing to CNES’s UniverSpace and TTVS space vehicle engineering and technologies programmes.

Lastly, CNES and SANSA will provide their space assets to serve efforts combating malaria through closer monitoring of its spread in affected areas from space, combining tele-epidemiology data collected by satellite and global warming data. A similar approach could be used to characterize the extent and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Embassy of France in South Africa