An agreement, on the RadioAstron space satellite was signed between the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) on the Margins of BRICS Summit on 26 March 2013 in Durban.
The agreement paved the way for the two countries to work together on the development of science and space technologies.
In 2006 the South African and Russian governments signed an agreement to cooperate on the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
The agreement signed confirms a strategic role in the area of global space science and technology and also provides provides an opportunity to use space science and technology to contribute towards socio-economic development.
As per the agreement, Roscosmos will provide the hardware for upgrading the tracking station (antenna) for compatibility with RadioAstron, while SANSA will install and maintain the upgraded hardware and operate the tracking station.
• The RadioAstron satellite was launched by Roscosmos on 18 July 2011.
• It carries a radio telescope that will obtain images and coordinates of various radio-emitting objects.
• The idea is to complement the capability of ground-based very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) instruments with a space-based VLBI instrument.
• The project is an international collaboration led by the Astro Space Centre of the Lebedev Physical Institute (Russian Academy of Sciences) in Moscow.
• Other partners include the European Space Agency, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (USA), the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (India), and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia).
How RadioAstron will be used?
The RadioAstron mission will support and enhance investment in radio astronomy infrastructure in Africa, contributing to capacity building and socio-economic development on the continent. RadioAstron will complement other radio astronomy facilities in Africa (like the Square Kilometre Array), enhancing the continent’s reputation as a premier destination for radio astronomy.