Scientists hail Africa's steps into space

Oct 03, 2011
South Africa's minister for science and technology Naledi Pandor unveils the national space agency on December 9, 2010 in Johannesburg. More African countries are launching satellites and taking advantage of space technology, the world's top scientists heard at a meeting marking the 50th anniversary of human space flight.

More African countries are launching satellites and taking advantage of space technology, the world's top scientists heard Monday at a meeting marking the 50th anniversary of human space flight.

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) opened its annual conference, held for the first time in Africa, with a call for the continent to use space technology to benefit its people.

"It has always been an objective of the IAF to disseminate space knowledge to many new countries globally. It will continue to spread the notion space is not just the playground for wealthy countries," said IAF president Berndt Feuerbacher.

"It brings value and benefits to the citizens of all places of the world."

Feuerbacher highlighted last month's milestone in Nigeria's space programme with the launch of two satellites Nigeriasat 2 and Nigeriasat X, used for forestry, mapping, disaster monitoring and security applications.

South Africa in 2009 launched an environmental called SumbandilaSat, and last year formed its own . Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia all have their own space initiatives, he said.

"Exciting times are emerging for space in Africa," he told delegates when opening the congress.

"I am glad to see more and more African countries embracing the benefits space technology brings to their citizens."

The heads of the world's major space agencies were set to meet later Monday, while the five-day conference would also commemorate the 50th anniversary of Russian becoming the first man in space.

The meeting will also review the major changes under way in space agencies around the world, with NASA making the last flight of the US space shuttle fleet while unveiling its new Space .

Last week China also reached a milestone in its space programme with the launch of Tiangong-1, an experimental module that marks a first step toward building a space station.

"The year 2011 is a year of major changes and amazing achievements in space," Feuerbacher said.

Explore further: Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

Related Stories

Nigeria launches 2 new satellites into orbit

Aug 17, 2011

(AP) -- Nigeria launched two observation satellites into orbit Wednesday, and authorities said they hoped to use the equipment to monitor weather in a region seasonally ravaged by disasters.

ISS crews honor Yuri Gagarin

Apr 12, 2007

The International Space Station crews sent their best wishes to Moscow Thursday in honor of the anniversary of the pioneering space journey of Yuri Gagarin.

NASA marks five-year space milestone

Nov 02, 2005

NASA scientists will break out the thermostabalized beef tips and rehydratable apple cider Wednesday as they celebrate a major space milestone.

Russia says delayed space flight on for April 5

Mar 18, 2011

Russia said Friday it had solved the problem that caused it to delay the launch of three astronauts to the International Space Station and would proceed with the mission on April 5.

Russia To Launch Satellite For World Space Observatory

Nov 01, 2005

Russia is planning to build and put into orbit a satellite that will lay the foundation for the creation of the World Space Observatory (WSO), a project to explore deep space in the ultraviolet spectrum by 2008, a Russian ...

Recommended for you

Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

1 hour ago

No matter how beautiful or crystal clear the bubbling waters of an oasis may be, they seldom lead to technology breakthroughs. Yet, NASA's OASIS investigation's bubbles may lead to an ocean of new improvements ...

Zapping away space junk

10 hours ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

Ariane 5's first launch of 2015

12 hours ago

An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.