SA may delay second satellite launch

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 08 Nov 2006

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is mulling whether to postpone the launch of the country's first state-funded satellite.

The 80kg micro-satellite, named Sumbandila, Venda for "lead the way", was to be fired into space just before Christmas, but it emerged yesterday the department is considering postponing the launch by several months.

DST chief director of frontier programmes Pontsho Maruping says no decision has been made. She would not provide reasons for the move, saying an announcement would be made on Friday.

SunSpace and Information Systems built Sumbandila under contract from the University of Stellenbosch for the DST. It was set to be launched from a nuclear-powered Russian submarine in the Barents Sea, near the North Pole. It will now likely be launched in April.

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SA readies for second satellite