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August 24-30, 2020 / Vol 39, No 34 / Hawai`i Island, USA

21 Aug 2020, 20:27 UTC
August 24-30, 2020 / Vol 39, No 34 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Africa Poised for 21st Century Space Activity

While currently lacking launch capability, major elements of space economy are emerging in Africa, a vast continent home to 1.2B people across 54 countries. Astronomically, the High Energy Stereoscopic System array conducts ongoing investigation into 0.03 – 100 TeV cosmic gamma ray origins from the Khomas region of Namibia. The Southern African Large Telescope has the largest optical aperture in the southern hemisphere, and an ESO-style international consortium of 14 countries has committed US$800M+ for construction of the Square Kilometer Array phase 1 – an incredible venture that would dwarf all current radio telescopes when complete. SKA is then to be integrated into planned African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network and global VLBI. As a result of these significant efforts the IAU general assembly 2024 is to be held in Cape Town, bringing the world’s astronomy community to Africa for the first time. Astronautically, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Guyana, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Angola, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Gabon and Sudan have established space programs. Nigeria National Space Research & Development Agency recently signed an MoU with spacefaring power ISRO signaling cooperation on Earth observation, space science and planetary exploration. Independent organizations such as ...

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