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: Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

10 hours ago

(Phys.org) —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

13 hours ago

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space. "Space tourism" and short periods of weightlessness appear to be safe for most individuals ...

An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

16 hours ago

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more to ...

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

17 hours ago

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

17 hours ago

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

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.