Spring 2007 Issue
Soon South Africa will have another voice in the sky when its second satellite, named Sumbandila, is launched in June 2007. The naming of the satellite is an interesting story in itself. A competition was held among high school students. Entries in various languages were received, but ultimately the Venda language version was chosen, Sumbandila. It means showing or pointing the way. Freely translated into English, it is “Pathfinder.”
Sumbandila is a very appropriate name for a satellite that is paving the way for a number of satellites planned for launch over the next few years.
SumbandilaSat is sponsored by the Department
of Science and Technology and was built at SunSpace in cooperation with
the University of Stellenbosch. The amateur payload offers similar
activities to that of SunSat, but implemented in a new, innovative way.
The main payload is a multi-spectral imager
with a 6.5-meter Ground Sampling Distance (GSD) with six spectral bands
and will be supported by an on-board storage of 6 gigabytes, expandable to
24 gigabytes. In addition, there are several experimental payloads,
• Stellenbosch University: A Software Defined Radio (SDR) experiment and an architectural radiation experiment for commercial off-the-shelf devices (ARECOTS).
• Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: A forced vibrating string experiment.
• University of KwaZulu, Natal: A
very-low-frequency (VLF) radio experiment.
SA AMSAT has designed and built a control system to facilitate the following operations:
• V/U voice transponder with an uplink in the 2-meter band and a downlink in the 70-cm band.
• A parrot repeater (voice digipeater).
• A voice beacon.
Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BPZ, working on the prototype controller. He built two prototype controllers, one for the University of Stellenbosch and one for SA AMSAT to do software testing in Pretoria. This allowed work to be carried out in parallel.
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