Briefing by Sunspace




Briefing by SunSpace

Bart Cilliers & Ron Olivier

1 September 2009


Brief overview of satellites

Current & future industry developments

Our role in local and international space industry

Sumbandilasat – what is it and what is it good for?

International space treaties

Satellites overview

Geostationary satellites – GEO

Main suppliers: Thales Alenia Space (Fr), EADS Astrium (Fr), Lockheed Martin

(Usa), Ball Aerospace (Usa), Boeing (Usa), etc

Market cap: Mainly publicly listed from around 4 to 100 billion US $

Satellites costs: From around 0,25 to 1 billion US$

Medium earth orbit satellites – MEO

Main suppliers: Same as above + few others

Satellites costs: Vary widely according to size

Low earth orbit satellites – LEO

Main Suppliers: SSTL (Eng), SunSpace (RSA), Satreci (Kor), Astrotech (Usa),

SpaceDev (Usa), etc

Market caps: Mainly privately owned from around 4 to 100+ million US$

Satellites costs: From around 1 to 250 million US$ according to size





LEO satellite overview

Large Imaging LEO satellites

Some examples: Pleiades , Spot 5 (All Fr), Orbview, Ikonos, Quickbird (all Usa),

Ofeq (Isr), Kompsat (Kor), Cartosat (Ind).

Weight: 900 to 2850 kg

Performance: 0,41 to 5m GSD (Multispectral)

Estimated cost: 200 to 500 million US$

Small and medium LEO satellites

Some examples: RapidEye (Ger), Nigeriasat -2 (Eng), Alsat-2 (Fr), DubaiSat

(Kor), Sumbandilasat (RSA)

Weight: 85 to 230 kg

Performance: 5-6.25m Ground Sampling Distance (Multispectral)

Estimated cost: 8 to 50 million US$


Space Industry Developments

International LEO satellite industry structure

Countries with space heritage provide in their own needs & those who require access

SunSpace is building upon its South African heritage with the objective of entering the developing world market with further products

Why small LEO?

Affordable access to space - existing heritage

Complex technical challenges without the cost of large programs

Current developments

Developing world is waking up to small satellite possibilities

Future expectations

Growing international demand for small satellites – TACSAT as example

SunSpace – our role

International small satellite industry

Many countries competing for developing world small satellite orders

SunSpace competing as part of team RSA

Local space industry

SunSpace is part of a large number small RSA companies that contribute to local space effort

SunSpace provides both small satellite hardware and software as well as expert training for small satellite design, development testing and operations engineers.

Government support

The international competition is won only as a national team effort


What is it?

84 kg earth observation satellite with a multispectral imaging of 6.25m

GSD at 500km. Can see the same point in RSA every 3-4 days.

Pathfinder objective is to increase scientific and engineering knowledge in space systems

Satellite contains some heritage, some newly developed systems

What is it good for?

Designed and tested for operational use –provide scientifically useful images if operating as per design specifications

Images will provide further scientific information for assessing ground cover, agricultural crop analysis, forestry composition analysis, water analysis and land use applications

Provide clear indication of progress in RSA technical design, manufacturing and operating capabilities to the international community

Signal for high level technical expatriates to return to our country

Satellite Control Issues

GEO (we do not operate there)

Mandatory requirement for safe removal of satellite from orbit.

Safe removal applies also to the GTO and the insertion rockets

Safe removal mechanisms built into the satellite design

Proof of operation for safe removal mechanisms required before launch

MEO (we do not operate there)

Removal requirements are not stringent or enforced

No parked orbital slot in relation to terra location

LEO (Yes, we operate here)

No mandatory control

Technical expertise required to launch into an unoccupied orbit

Other Controls in Space (1)

Some local controls for space

Missile Technology Regime – NPC (DTI),

Prohibits and controls the transfer of technologies in spacecraft for use in intercontinental ballistic missiles

Wassenaar Arrangement – NCACC (DOD),

Control and tracks specific technologies used in spacecraft to prohibit their reuse in conventional arms such as other missiles or targeting systems

Council on Space Affairs – (DTI), ICASA – (DOC)

Controls the launch of all spacecraft from South African soil and South African spacecraft from other countries.

Other Controls in Space (2)

International LEO Orbit Issues

The UN COPUOS is trying to introduce legislation to limit or eliminate LEO space debris, but accept that existing debris cannot be removed because:

There is too much debris comprised of separation hardware and spent rocket final stages and the like.

There is no affordable existing system that could be used to remove the existing debris.

The UN COPUOS accordingly is concentrating on promoting the responsible use of space as the only practical means to limit or avoid the proliferation of space debris.

The most important items of space debris to be avoided is the following:

Since the titanium tanks used for hydrazine do not burn up upon re-entry, they have to be completely vented (emptied) at end of life to avoid contamination when they fall back to earth as hydrazine is extremely poisonous.

The use of nuclear reactors to power satellites in LEO orbit are now regarded as irresponsible space use in the extreme. Most responsible nations will not launch any LEO satellite with a nuclear reactor power source. Nuclear power sources are the only possibility for outer space exploration missions where insufficient solar energy is available.

Other Controls in Space (3)

UN COPUOS treaties

LEO orbit space bodies are difficult to regulate without international cooperation forums such as the UN COPUOS

Access to international markets for satellite manufacturers such as ourselves depends on our country being seen as a responsible space user

UN treaties provides internationally recognised platform for responsible use by guarding against misuse of orbits, launches and provide legal cover for when space debris lands on one’s soil

Recommendation on UN treaties

SunSpace gives its unqualified support to the 2 UN treaties namely the

Liability Convention and the Registration Convention under consideration and urges Parliament to ratify both!

RSA taking over in Baikonur

Thank you

Any Questions?