South Africa’s space programme has made history by launching three locally produced nano-satellites into space today. The trio of lightweight satellites called MDASat-1 was launched by South Africa-born billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Florida in the United States.

The launch comes three years since the launch of ZACube 2, which is the technology demonstrator for the MDASat-1.

Welcoming the event, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande says the funding and support of South Africa’s satellite construction industry were reaping rewards.

He says the launch will further cement South Africa’s position as an African leader in small satellite development. The satellites will be used for surveillance of oceans and environmental projects.

Dr Mmboneni Muofhe, Deputy Director-General of Technology, Innovation at the Department of Science and Technology shares more:

The full MDASat constellation will be of nine cube satellites that will detect, identify and monitor vessels in near real-time in support of South African maritime awareness.