The multi-million rand space weather centre was launched in Hermanus, Western Cape, on Thursday 3 November.
The project was developed by the government’s entity, the South African Space Agency (SANSA), and the centre is the only one of its kind in Africa.
SANSA’s new establishment will monitor the sun and its activity and provide space weather forecasts, warnings, alerts, and environmental data on space weather conditions such as the effects of solar storms and other weather phenomena.
The Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, says the new facility will be operational 24/7 and will provide weather services primarily to aviation.
The team is out in Hermanus today for the opening of the brand new Space Weather Centre. The state-of-the-art facility, will officially be launched by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, @DrBladeNzimande pic.twitter.com/II2wiV6oTP
— African Science Stars (@AfriScienceStar) November 3, 2022
The minister remarked that the centre serves as an illustration of South Africa’s excellence in science. He said:
“It is also a demonstration that the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), together with its agencies, continue to respond to the socio-economic challenges of our country by using science, technology and innovation as a catalyst and catalyser for economic development.”
The centre took three years to build and was completed by the end of September 2022, but it was officially launched on Thursday 3 November.
The centre’s products and services are required primarily for communication and navigation systems in the defence, aeronautics, navigation, and communication sectors.