The Department of Science and Technology (DST) plans to establish centres of competence (CoC) in optronics and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to support South Africa's future space programme. Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor made the announcement at the launch of the South African Space Agency (SANSA) and National Space Strategy last week. Pandor continued that the National Space Strategy would promote research in the areas of astronomy, earth observation, communications, navigation and space physics. Emphasis would be placed on encouraging space science research and development, she added in comments carried by the state BuaNews agency. The focus on SANSA will fall on the themes of earth observation, space operations, science and engineering, human capital development, science advancement and public engagement, he added.
"That makes it an ideal tool for disaster management. It is also ideal for early prediction of crop yields. It really should be used more because we could save millions by ?recognising when yields are going to be poor and buying early.? Radar is also one of the most important weather prediction tools. Using scatterometers, we can measure the strength and direction of surface winds and the height of ocean waves.” Professor Mike Inggs noted the ability of SAR to penetrate clouds, vegetation and even the upper level of the soil.