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A South African Nanosatellite Brings Business to Local Industry

By | March 30, 2018

South Africa’s nSight 1 nanosatellite. Photo: SCS Aerospace Group.

A South African-manufactured nanosatellite orbiting Earth since May 2017 has successfully generated sales of some of its sub-systems on the international satellite market. The satellite, called nSight 1, is a product of the Somerset West-based SCS Aerospace Group (SCSAG), Africa’s largest privately owned group of satellite design and manufacturing companies. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) deployed the satellite into orbit last year with 28 other spacecraft as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) QB50 project, which collects research data from the Earth’s lower thermosphere.

The three companies in the SCS Aerospace Group directly involved in providing commercial satellite solutions are Space Advisory Company (SAC), a systems consulting and engineering house; SCS Space, which provides satellite mission solutions as well as satellite systems; and NewSpace Systems, which develops and manufactures space components and sub-systems.

According to Hendrik Burger, SCS Space’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the group is considering extending nSight 1’s expected orbit lifetime from 18 to 24 months due to its low drag, specific mass and orientation control.