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Cubesat company sets up African outpost in Cape Town

Robert Van Zyl AAC.jpg

Swedish-owned small satellite company AAC Clyde Space has expanded to South Africa, by setting up a cubesat base near Cape Town.

AAC Space Africa will design, build, and deliver space missions to the whole of Africa from its new base, said the company.

Luis Gomes, UK-based CEO of AAC, said: “The need for space services in Africa is growing rapidly as government, companies and communities seek efficient ways to support development and build out crucial infrastructure.”

Cubesat’s are tiny cubes-shaped satellites, typically 10-12cm on a side, that can provide a range of internet of things (IoT) applications. One of the most successful is US company Swarm, which is being bought by SpaceX

AAC Clyde Space has hired as managing director Robert Van Zyl, director of the Africa Space Innovation Centre at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Francois Visser will be technical director.

AAC said: “They bring more than 40 years of small satellite experience to the company, having pioneered the African cubesat industry through several missions, including the first cubesat launched by the continent. Their expertise spans all facets of new space technologies, with a special focus on communications.”

Gomes commented: “We see great potential for small satellites to provide timely, accurate and targeted data for sectors such as weather forecasting, ocean monitoring, agricultural planning, and land management.”

AAC said the team will initially focus on radio communication systems as well as sales and marketing. The team is expected to grow quickly in the coming year to meet demand from the African space economy, it expects to grow to $10 billion by 2024.

Gomes added: “The ability to provide data from space and monitor key issues across the continent will help Africa develop at a far more rapid pace over the next decade.”

 

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