http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.79Change: -0.09
R/$ = 12.52Change: 0.00
Au 1149.16 $/ozChange: -7.33
Pt 1016.00 $/ozChange: -27.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Apr 16, 2010

Two space telescope projects of interest to South Africa

Back
Engineering|Africa|Design|Exploration|PROJECT|Projects|Africa|Energy
Engineering|Africa|Design|Exploration|PROJECT|Projects|Africa|Energy
engineering|africa-company|design|exploration|project|projects|africa|energy
© Reuse this



South Africa is willing to cooperate with both Russia and Japan on satellite-based very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) radio astronomy projects, known as space VLBI. Both projects involve the launching of space-based radio telescopes, designated Radioastron and VSOP-2.

Interferometry involves using two or more radio telescope dishes to look at the same object in the sky. The signals received by each dish are fed into a computer and because the dishes are not in exactly the same place (even if they they are only a few tens of metres apart) the distance travelled by the signals to each is not identical and combining them creates an interference pattern that can be analysed by computer to provide high-resolution images of celestial objects.

In the case of VLBI, however, the dishes are very far apart - often on different continents, because the longer the baseline, the higher the resolution of the images that can be obtained. And space VLBI extends the baseline even further than is possible on Earth by adding a spacecraft.

South Africa would provide part of the terrestrial component of the baseline, helping extend it to the maximum. The South African radio telescope that would be involved would be the 26 m dish at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory, west of Pretoria, which has lots of experience in VLBI work. The seven dish MeerKAT Precursor Array telescope in the Karoo is currently still functioning as an engineering test bed and not as an operational radio telescope, but it could get involved in the long term.

Radioastron is a project led by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, while VSOP-2 (which is also called Astro-G) is led by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.

In the case of Russia, the Radioastron spacecraft will deploy a 10 m diameter radio telescope dish. Radioastron was first announced in 2005 with a target launch date of 2007, but the project has suffered from delays and its is now hoped to launch it in June this year. The spacecraft is reportedly currently undergoing final assembly and tests by its manufacturer, Lavochkin, and is based on this company's Spektr-R satellite design. The intention is to launch it on a Zenit-2 rocket with a Fregat-SB booster from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

VSOP-2 stands for VLBI Space Observatory Programme-2 and the Japanese spacecraft will deploy a 9 m dish. It too, has suffered delays, originally being aimed at a launch this year or early next. However, it is now scheduled for launch in 2013. It is expected to be launched on a Japanese H2A rocket, probably from the country's Tanegashima Space Centre, located on a small island to the south of Kyushu (the southernmost of Japan's four main islands). The H2A is Japan's main large-scale launch vehicle. The VSOP-2 project follows a successful previous Japanese space VLBI mission, VSOP.

Radioastron is aimed at studying active galactic nucleii, the structure of star-mass black holes, neutron and possible quark stars in the Milky Way, the structure and distribution of interplanetary and interstellar matter, the structure and dynamics of star-forming regions (using maser and megamaser spectral line emission), and parameters of the currently-accepted model of the cosmos, including dark energy and dark matter.

Quark stars are currently theoretical concepts. Quarks are elementary particles which make up protons, neutrons and mesons, and quark stars would be composed only of these quarks (which come in six types). Maser is an acronym for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, and is a high frequency microwave amplifier.

Dark matter is believed to make up most of the matter in our universe and is so named because it neither emits or reflects light, making it invisible, although the influence of gravity from dark matter is detectable. While conventional matter makes up a mere 4,6% of the universe, and dark matter 23%, the even more mysterious dark energy is believed to account for 72% of our universe. Dark energy may be the force driving the observed expansion of the universe.


Highlights

SA would maximise baseline for two international space telescope projects

Radioastron should be launched this year, VSOP-2 in 2013

 

 

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
NHLANHLA NENE The main constraints to economic growth are domestic
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene earlier this month stated that, while South Africa’s 2015 economic growth target of 2% was achievable, it was not enough to deliver the tax revenue needed to combat the country’s challenges.
The World Steel Association has published the 2015 edition of the World Steel in Figures report, which shows an increase in steel production as well as provides an overview of steel industry activities from crude steel production to apparent steel use.
The 25-year master plan for Gauteng’s Aerotropolis project will go through a process of approval and adoption during June and July, says Aerotroplis project manager Jack van der Merwe. “We are also in the process of putting together a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 1 hour 43 minutes ago This eight-page brief is a synopsis of key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
The South African market has been included as one of Spain’s 16 “priority markets” as the European country intensifies its efforts to raise exports in the wake of the global economic crisis and as its companies move to diversify their foreign direct investments to...
Advisors to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have recommended a root and branch overhaul of Africa's biggest oil industry and increased borrowing to help pay off $20-billion of government arrears, a reform proposal document shows. Buhari, who won a shock election...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
NHLANHLA NENE The main constraints to economic growth are domestic
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene earlier this month stated that, while South Africa’s 2015 economic growth target of 2% was achievable, it was not enough to deliver the tax revenue needed to combat the country’s challenges.
The World Steel Association has published the 2015 edition of the World Steel in Figures report, which shows an increase in steel production as well as provides an overview of steel industry activities from crude steel production to apparent steel use.
The 25-year master plan for Gauteng’s Aerotropolis project will go through a process of approval and adoption during June and July, says Aerotroplis project manager Jack van der Merwe. “We are also in the process of putting together a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to...
SOLAR PANELS The existing buildings in the Coega Industrial Development Zone lent themselves well to rooftop solar panel installations
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) plans to fit 15 of its buildings, totalling 127 000 m2 of roof space, in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), in the Eastern Cape, with solar panels.
The Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA’s) November 2014 judgment, ordering steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) to hand over the 2003 Environmental Master Plan for its Vanderbijlpark steel plant to environmental pressure groups, confirmed the right of civil...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96