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Three new SA inventions ready for takeoff

The DTI’s Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) proved its importance to the South African aerospace industry recently, with the emergence of three highly innovative local aerospace technologies with great promise for successful commercialisation.

Managed and hosted by the CSIR, the AISI has an ambitious mandate to position the country as a global leader in niche areas of industry.

The technology-based SMMEs in question include a company that is the first in South Africa to be able to provide radiation screening and mitigation services for satellite components; a company that employs a unique stellar gyroscope to function as a reliable attitude control system for nano-satellites; and a company that has developed a micro gas turbine engine that has the potential to be used in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Satellite component testing

Radiation effects on satellite electronic components have proven to be a major problem that affects the longevity of satellites in the space environment. The electronic components are required to undergo radiation screening before final installation on satellites. Previously, no facility in South Africa was able to perform this function and private and local satellite manufacturers had to have the satellite components screened by an international organisation.

Heliocentric Technologies ZA is the first domestic company to be able to provide radiation screening and mitigation services for satellite components. Their robust, reliable screening instruments and processes, which accurately simulate prolonged exposure to radiation, was developed over 18 months and utilises the facilities at iThemba LABS in Cape Town. With development now completed, the company has started to market its services.

The company maintains a range of common components in stock, for fast delivery to customers, tested for both TID (total ionising dose) and SEE (single event effects). Components include FPGAs, microcontrollers and microprocessors, data storage and memory, and power FETs. With the ability to provide high-energy protons up to 200 MeV for SEE testing, the test facility is able to perform batch testing of components, board-level testing and satellite-level testing of nano-satellites only.

Gyro for orbit control

Satellites use different systems for orbit and attitude control. These control systems ensure the intended orbit of the satellite is followed and calculate the necessary adjustments, should they drift out of orbit. Some of these control systems make use of the sun or other light sources to measure the position of the sun or light sources relative to the satellite’s position. Depending on this position, the satellite makes the necessary adjustments to retain its original orbit. Other types of attitude control systems have their own drawbacks and are often very complex and expensive, especially when being considered for use in nano-satellites.

NewSpace Systems has developed a novel attitude control system for low-cost, small and nano-satellites. The stellar gyroscope is an innovative solution to solve the problem of drift in traditional gyroscopes. The importance of this solution for space avionics is that it solves the problem of accurate attitude knowledge during the period the spacecraft is in eclipse and can no longer orientate itself relative to the sun. It is a key technology for achieving higher performance in smaller spacecraft as it achieves fine pointing accuracy at lower cost, using less spacecraft resources (mass, power, volume) and with high reliability through its robustness to ageing effects such as radiation damage.

NewSpace Systems will design, develop, manufacture, test and qualify a stellar gyro, which will be marketed as an attitude control sensor.

Gas turbines to power UAVs

The lack of a propulsion systems capability in South Africa has been identified as a deficiency in the aerospace industry. The clear market and strategic need for the local industry to develop a propulsion sector, and the past investment in gas turbine technology, present an ideal opportunity to develop a niche sector through support for a single product with potential to expand into a multitude of markets.

In an effort to reignite the local micro gas turbine propulsion market, Cape Aerospace Technologies (CAT) has developed the CAT 200 KS gas turbine engine. The first two phases of the project – which included preliminary design, development, manufacturing and testing – have been successfully completed.

CAT has subsequently moved to phase three of the project, which involves further upgrades to the gas turbine and commercialisation. It has made great technical achievements by getting the first new gas turbine prototype running in South Africa since the late 1980s.


Read more:  http://www.dataweek.co.za/8401a

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A new dawn rises for the South African aerospace industry

A new dawn rises for the South African aerospace industryThe emergence of three highly innovative local aerospace technologies with great promise for successful commercialisation proves that the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) is making a real impact in the South African aerospace industry.

The AISI is an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), managed and hosted by the CSIR, with an ambitious mandate to position the country as a global leader in niche areas of industry.

“It is important to the dti to be able to show that the funding and support provided by the AISI is making a genuine impact on the industry. We are therefore proud to be able to say that we played a role in helping these three exciting aerospace SMMEs to get off the ground,” says Marié Botha, manager for the AISI. “It also shows us that our criteria for selecting which aerospace efforts to fund and support are in line with sector strategies and international benchmarks.”

The technology-based SMMEs in question include a company that is the first in South Africa to be able to provide radiation screening and mitigation services for satellite components; a company that employs a unique stellar gyroscope to function as a reliable attitude control system for nanosatellites; and a company that has developed a micro gas turbine engine that has the potential to be used in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).


Read more:  http://www.csir.co.za/enews/2015_May/18.html

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AISI hosts pavilion at AAD 2012

100728_0542-caption to be confirmedTwenty-four small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), three aerospace initiatives funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti),  and  eight universities will have the opportunity to exhibit on the pavilion of the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) at the Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo. AISI is fully funded by the dti to support the local South African aeronautical and space industry. It is managed by the CSIR.

Commenting on the forthcoming event, Marié Botha, programme manager of AISI, says, “The dti views AAD 2012 as strategic and an opportunity to expose SMMEs and universities to the broader industry to showcase their capabilities.”

AISI has been a regular exhibitor at AAD since 2006, thereby offering many SMMEs a singular opportunity to showcase their aerospace industry capabilities over the years.  This is in line with AISI’s express commitment to support the South African aerospace industry and promote it in the global market place.

This year AISI has joined forces with the National Aerospace Centre (NAC), a mechanism funded by the dti to support human capital development through bursaries and scholarships as well as focused research and development to underpin the local South African aeronautical and space industries. Eight South African universities from three provinces will be exhibiting on the AISI pavilion.

The Centurion Aerospace Village, an initiative of the dti, will also be present on the AISI pavilion. The CAV aims to develop a high-tech advanced manufacturing, aero-mechanical and defence cluster adjacent to the Waterkloof Air Force base in Centurion, Tshwane. Its primary purpose is to develop a sub-tier supply chain to integrate the local aerospace and defence companies into the global supply chains, thereby becoming suppliers of choice to original equipment manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Spirit Aviation and Labinal.

AAD takes place from 19-23 September 2012 at the Airforce Base Waterkloof, Centurion.

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South Africa proud host of the first Africa Round of Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition

Participants at the Africa Regional Round of the 2012 Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition with (back, from left) Nomfuneko Majaja, Chief Director: Advanced Manufacturing at the dti; the CSIR’s Marié Botha, AISI programme manager; Prof Erika de Wet, co-director of ICLA; and the CSIR’s Johan le Roux, Group Manager: Strategic Initiatives Implementation Unit. Regional organiser Adv Lulu Makapela is in front (fifth from the left).
Participants at the Africa Regional Round of the 2012 Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition with (back, from left) Nomfuneko Majaja, Chief Director: Advanced Manufacturing at the dti; the CSIR’s Marié Botha, AISI programme manager; Prof Erika de Wet, co-director of ICLA; and the CSIR’s Johan le Roux, Group Manager: Strategic Initiatives Implementation Unit. Regional organiser Adv Lulu Makapela is in front (fifth from the left).

The First African Round of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition was successfully hosted by the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) in May 2012, with four participating universities from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). The AISI is hosted by the CSIR.

A committed team of law students from the Obafemi Awolowo University of Nigeria, won the competition and also took the prizes for best memorial and best oralist. The team was represented by Akintunde Iseoluwa Christopher (best oralist), Olabisi Esther Adeogun, and Maryann Onyinye Nwokolo under the guidance of Dr OA Orifowomo.

The runner-up was the Faculty of Law of UP, South Africa, represented by Sune Crafford, Moremo Matlou, and Tsepho Seloane, under the guidance of coach Lourens Grové, an attorney at the Law Clinic at UP.

The Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition is an international competition for law students, and it started in 1992. It is organised by the International Institute of Space Law. Some 48 law schools now compete worldwide in different regional rounds for admission to the final round in October each year, which is held at the annual International Astronautical Congress.

Mount Kenya University, School of Law (Kenya) and North-West University, Potchefstroom campus (South Africa), also took pride in their participation in this highly specialised area of law.

Locking legal horns
The teams were required to debate the problem based on a hypothetical case that was posed for the competition. The case addressed questions related to on-orbit satellite collision, non-cooperative satellite removal and damages.

The problem (the description of which is liberally sprinkled with allusions to William Shakespeare’s plays) relates to events following a collision between two satellites belonging to the Republic of Verona (Juliet-1) and the Commonwealth of Montague (Romeo-22). The case was submitted by the two countries for binding resolution by the International Court of Justice, with each country putting forward its requests to the court.

The preliminary rounds were judged by Mr Kim Gorringe (Head, Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Department, Comair Limited and member of the South African Council for Space Affairs), Adv Phetole Patrick Sekhula (Advocate of the High Court and member of the South African Council for Space Affairs) and Adv Liezel Claassen of the University of South Africa’s Law Department. Favourable comments by these judges attested to the thoroughness of the preparations by the teams as well as their strong performance.

The nail-biting final was held in the august atmosphere of the North Gauteng High Court. Dr Tare Brisibe (Chair, Legal Sub-committee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space), Adv Nicole Lewis (Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar) and Adv Luthando Simphiwe Mkumatela (Advocate for the High Court and former Chairperson of the South African Council for Space Affairs) heard the arguments of the opposing teams.

A win for Africa: Capacity building in space regulation
South Africa’s commitment to hosting this first formal Africa Regional Round comes at an auspicious time in the history of space endeavours. Speaking at the dinner held on 17 May 2011 at UP, Nomfuneko Majaja, Chief Director: Advanced Manufacturing at the dti, highlighted the historic nature of the Africa Round, which was coordinated by Adv Lulu Makapela of the CSIR.

Dr Brisibe emphasised the need for international cooperation in the light of new technologies. “Capacity building and training in space law are imperative for African countries to take their rightful place in the arena of current international space activities,” he said. Dr Peter Martinez, Chairperson: South African Council for Space Affairs, echoed these sentiments. “Space activities are ubiquitous and essential to modern life,” he noted. “At the same time, the sustainability of outer space is crowded, contested and complex. This needs to be regulated through international legislation.”

Hosts of the event, Prof Erika de Wet, co-director of ICLA, and the CSIR’s Marié Botha, AISI programme manager, viewed the value of the event in terms of capacity building.

De Wet has invested in this domain through her commitment to developing a specialised Master’s degree (LLM) in space law. With the support of AISI, ICLA held the second annual training seminar on air, space and telecommunications law in 2011.

Read more
About the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition
About Space junk: Why it is time to clean up the skies