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South Africa Prepares To Enter Space Age, Signs Agreement for Launch Rocket

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EIRNS— BRICS country South Africa has taken a decisive step toward entering the Space Age with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement for the design and construction of a small domestic rocket, capable of being “clustered” for launch of small payloads. Dubbed the SAFFIRE program (for South African First Integrated Rocket Engine), the Department of Science and Innovation, through its Aerospace Systems Research Group (ASReG), has signed “Memorandum of Agreement” (MOA) with defence contractor Rheinmetall Denel Munition.

While no timetable is given, “defenceWeb” reported that the ASReG, located at the KwaZulu Natal University, has a 10-year history in rocket propulsion, and in 2014 successfully launched a payload to suborbital heights. Another launch attempt in 2019 failed as a result of a problem with the software controlling the rocket propellant. In addition to the rocket construction, the program “seeks to develop key expertise in the engineering disciplines of rocket propulsion technology, launch vehicle design and flight dynamics modelling.” [mpb]