World Space Week will be celebrated in Cape Town this week in a spectacular way with the launch of high altitude weather balloon and camera providing a live video feed of South Africa and the curvature of the earth from outer space.

 

The high altitude balloon will be launched at 9:00 on Friday, 10 October, at the St Augustine’s Cricket Club in Elfin Road,
Diep River near Princess Vlei. Members of the public are welcome to attend and watch the live streaming on television
screens, which will be provided from 9:00 to 12:00 on the day. Numerous school children from all over Cape Town will also attend.

 

“The balloon is expected to ascend to a height of 33km within about 100 minutes during which time we will be streaming the live video from the camera looking down at earth. Hopefully, if the day is clear and cloud-less, we will have the view of Cape Town, and eventually South Africa below with the curvature of the earth which becomes visible at a height of 33kms,” says Dr. Sias Mostert, CEO of Space Commercial Service Holdings (SCSH) the Somerset West-based aerospace group and mastermind behind the project.

 

“The High Altitude Balloon Project is managed by our Space Engineering Academy (SEA) a new initiative which provides training programs aimed at producing space professionals as well as outreach and education facilities to introduce the youth of South Africa to the world of space. Other partners in the project on Friday October 10, are InterMet responsible for the balloon hardware, the Cape Town Science Centre with their mobile education unit on site, as well as the Living Maths education movement who will also launch an additional balloon on the day,“ says Dr. Mostert.

 

SCSH, South Africa’s leading private small satellite contractor, with business interests and ongoing contracts in numerous countries around the world, just established their headquarters in Somerset Links Business Park. The group consists of a number of subsidiary companies, all specializing in different aspects of the high-tech small satellite industry.

 

The South African High Altitude Balloon event is part of the 15th World Space Week which is held every year from 4 to 10 October to commemorate the launch of the world’s first satellite Sputnik I on 4 October 1957, and the UN Outer Space Treaty which came into force on 10 October 1967. It has grown into the largest public space event on earth to celebrate at international level the peaceful contributions of space science and technology for the betterment of the human condition. More than 80 countries celebrated this in 2013 with some 1400 events. This year the their theme is: ‘Space: Guiding Your Way’.

 

Kechil Kirkham

SKA and External Funding