[FPSPACE] news report about future South African satellite

Gunter Krebs gunter.krebs at skyrocket.de
Tue Nov 11 04:40:56 EST 2014

Has this satellite also a South African name? Currently it is only known
under the Russian designation "Kondor-E".

Is the satellite completely owned by South Africa or is this joint
ownership with Russia or is Russia the woner and South Africa owns only the
data products?

- Gunter

2014-11-11 9:02 GMT+01:00 Keith Gottschalk <kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za>:

>   Business Day (Johannesburg)  11 November 2014 pg.4 carries a news
> report:
> 1) A Russian-built South African spy satellite was initially scheduled for
> launch 27 February at Baikonur; the latest schedule is for 18 December.
> 2) Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula criticised opposition (DA) MP
> David Maynier as "irresponsible" for asking any questions in public about
> the spysat. She said she would only answer questions about it in
> Parliamentary defence committee meetings closed to the public & press. She
> asked for all questions on the spysat to be removed from the Question Paper
> of Parliament.
>    My thoughts:
>    Austerity budgets mean that the SANDF got a budget increase less than
> inflation for the next 12 months. So for an expensive project to go ahead,
> it has to be given priority over other projects. If I try to put myself
> into the minds of South African Defence Intelligence, & ask what are the
> most urgent situations I want facts about now, the first things that come
> to my mind:
> 1) South African-made drones do not have the range to patrol South African
> territorial waters down to the sub-Antarctic Marion and Prince Edward Isles
> over 1000 kms to our south; nor do they have aerial refueling capability.
> So sat images & sigint on illegal ships such as fish poachers, & drug
> smugglers, would be useful.
> 2) South Africa has blue-hatted (UNO) & green-hatted (African Union)
> peacekeepers deployed in the semi-desert Darfur province of Sudan; & in the
> heavily-forested eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The
> militias of diverse warlords shoot at them from time to time. So any
> forewarning of ambushes etc will also be welcome. I think that there are
> certain wavelengths of either microwave or infrared which can penetrate
> foliage.
> 3) Our borders are peaceful, it is not armour nor even vehicles, but only
> unemployed individuals who pour across our frontiers in search of casual
> jobs. But I imagine that any military establishment would want as a matter
> of principle to episodically check borders.
>    I have no further reflections on what our Defence Intelligence would
> currently feel burning curiosity about!
>    There was public talk about five years ago that South Africa would put
> out tenders for its own industry to manufacture a synthetic aperture radar
> midi-sat, & pay someone to launch it. But such hopes faded away. South
> Africa & its universities have built & launched three Earth Observation
> microsats & cubesats to date. But these had only low resolution imagery.
> South Africa could not currently build a recon sat with Keyhole 12-level
> resolution!
>       - Keith
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