At the world’s largest space conference, the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) currently taking place in Dubai (25-29 October 2021), saw representatives from the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) take the opportunity to formally sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Agencies for the benefit of both countries’ citizenry.
The MoU forges a framework for collaborative activities that includes but is not limited to the sharing of satellites and data for Earth observation purposes, collaboration on space applications addressing climate change, the fostering of research partnerships in space science and technology (special focus on space weather), connecting and supporting local space businesses and providing national space infrastructure development support as required.
“The development of a MoU began a few years ago with a visit to the UK by SANSA and industry delegations to identify partnership opportunities. All of us at the British High Commission in South Africa are delighted to see this result and look forward to collaborating with our South African partners on a range of mutually beneficial scientific and commercial programmes,” said Anthony Phillipson, British High Commissioner to South Africa.
The two agencies have in the past been involved in some space projects and the MoU serves to now formalise and enhance the opportunities for a stronger partnership that serves all stakeholders in the space value chain.
“Global partnerships are necessary for the sustainability and success of space programmes and SANSA appreciates and commits to exploring opportunities to contribute towards this mutually beneficial collaboration with our colleagues in the UK,” said Dr Val Munsami, SANSA CEO.
United Kingdom Space Agency chief executive Dr Paul Bate said: "This partnership will increase the sharing of knowledge, talent, research and innovation between the UK and South Africa, with all the scientific and commercial opportunities this brings. Space is an effective tool in the fight against climate change and as we approach COP26, we must work across borders to reach our shared goal of achieving net-zero by 2050.
"As set out in the UK's National Space Strategy, we are committed to strengthening our international relationships and building the UK's reputation as a partner of choice in space activities."