African VLBI Network Training Site


Tour to SANSA: Wednesday 07 March - Mr Eugene Avenant

07 March 2018 10:30 - 13:30

Title: Visit to the South African National Space Agency (SANSA)

Author: Mr Eugene Avenant 
              Chief Engineer
             Space Operations unit

Overview of the visit to SANSA:

During the visit to SANSA Space Operations facility at Hartebeeshoek(HBK), students will be exposed to the commercial application of space technology. The HBK station serves both the public sector(Space Agencies) and the commercial space sector. The facility hosts equipment from a number of agencies and commercial firms that perform TT&C(Telemetry Tracking and Command) functions for earth observing satellites, science satellites and communications satellites. SANSA utilises its own antenna systems to render services both to its internal customer (Earth Observation directorate) and commercial entities. SANSA performs LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) functions as well as image downloads and in orbit test. Complimentary to this SANSA applies the knowledge it has gained in GNSS to work on collaborative project in GNSS application.

During the visit the students will receive a short lecture on the services required by the commercial space sector as well as the technology required to serve this market. Key differences in the application of the technology between astronomy and satellite operations will be highlighted and possible careers in the field identified. The visit will conclude with a tour of the facility where student will be able to see the equipment in operation and be able to get a feel for requirements of operating and maintaining a facility such as HBK.


More about the author:

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Eugene Avenant received his Bachelors of Engineering from the University of Pretoria in 1989. After his studies he joined the CSIR, Aerotek where he worked on RADAR front ends and Antenna systems. In 1999 he joined the Satellite Application Centre (a unit of the CSIR). His responsibilities was the upgrade and establishment of new TT&C, Image download stations and other satellite monitoring systems. CSIR SAC became incorporated into SANSA (South African National Space Agency) in 2011. He has also been involved in GNSS projects through the EC FP6 and 7 most notably the projects: AFSAGA (African Satellite Communication and Galileo Application), ESESA (EGNOS Service Extension to South Africa), SATSA (SBAS Awareness and Training for South Africa) and most recently SBAS Africa funded from the UKSA. He currently holds the position of Chief Engineer in the Space Operations unit.