SINCE ZACube-1, CPUT has reprised its history-making nanosatellite technology with the ZACube-2, the most advanced South African CubeSat, launched with the Russian Soyuz Kanopus mission from Siberia, Russia, on Thursday.
Cape Town - A new nanosatellite which was successfully launched to monitor ships is already producing images.

The ZACUBE-2 was successfully launched last year by the Department of Science and Technology.

The satellite has also been monitoring natural disasters and wildfires.

This comes in light of the wildfires which the Western Cape has experienced over the past few months.

There were massive fires in the George area last year.

These were followed by the Wupperthal fire disaster and fires in the Overberg district.

The wildfires spread very fast due to strong winds and dry vegetation.

The Department of Science and Technology said that the nanosatellite was also monitoring gases being emitted in the atmosphere.

It would be able to tell how clean the air was.

It was launched with other nanosatellites from the United States, Spain, Germany and Japan, along with the Russian Soyuz Kanopus mission from Siberia.

ZACUBE-2 is the fourth nano-satellite which South Africa has launched. It weighs 4kg and is the most advanced on the African continent.

Department of Science and Technology director-general Dr Phil Mjwara said that the satellite could detect ships in South African waters which did not have responders, as well as detect wildfires.

“This has been a milestone and we have a role to play in the space arena.

“The government has also recognised the role it has to play in the space arena. South Africa developed the space infrastructure to transform the economic landscape,” he said.

ZACUBE-2 is the fourth nanosatellite to be launched in South Africa. The others were ZA-AeroSat (April 2017), nSight-1 (April 2017), ZACube-1 (TshepisoSat) launched in November 2013.

The microsatellites launched were SumbandilaSat (September 2009) and Sunsat in February 1999.

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