Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell, Managing Director of the South African National Space Agency’s Space Science Programme and Sandbaai resident, passed away.
South Africa Hosts International Space Conference
The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) hosted the International Space Operations Convention or SpaceOps2021 at the start of May. For the first time in the 31 years of the conference, it has been hosted by an African nation and endorses the confidence the world has seen with the excellence of space services coming from the continent.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference was held virtually, another first for this convention since its inception in 1990.
This international forum focuses on space operations experts, offering discussions on state-of-the-art operations principles, methods, and tools. In addition, delegates in the space industry are also given an opportunity to foster managerial and technical interchange on all aspects of space mission operations, including areas such as robotics, human, earth-orbiting, and deep space aspects of space operations.
The three-day programme included over 250 Technical presentations, four plenaries, a virtual exhibition, and much more. The Plenary Programme hosted experts from all over the world to discuss “Space Operations during COVID-19 pandemic”, “Commercial Ground stations: New Space and Traditional Space”, “Human spaceflight operations: Space Stations the Moon and MARS” and “Space situational awareness: Protecting our assets in space”.
The virtual conference was free of charge, making access and participation for delegates easy and leading to a record number of attendees.
SANSA Chief Executive Office, Val Munsami, says the first ever online SpaceOps2021 was a resounding success. “Over 2 500 delegates registered, and conversations focused on space operations in a COVID-constrained world. SANSA used this platform to demonstrate our South African capabilities and how we contribute to the global space value chain, now and in the future such as the development of a new Deep Space station in the Western Cape to support deep space missions".
IMAGE CAPTION: The SANSA Organisation Committee comprised from (LtoR): Eugene Avenant (Chief Engineer), Gladys Magagula (Project Manager), Elsa de Beer (PA to MD), Dikeledi Mogorosi (Communication Practitioner), Raoul Hodges (Managing Director: Space Operations), Sharon Petrus (Group Assistant) and Tiaan Strydom (Business Development Manager)