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Science Engineering Technology

Renowned US radio telescope to be decommissioned due to structural instability

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th December 2020 The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that the world-renowned Arecibo Observatory, in the US territory of Puerto Rico, is to be decommissioned after 57 years of operation. The decommissioning is the result of structural weaknesses that have been discovered after a support cable... 

New real-time monitoring system enhances safety

4th December 2020 Automotive and truck parts manufacturer Bridgestone in collaboration with technology company Microsoft has developed a unique and innovative monitoring system to detect tyre damage issues in real-time. Bridgestone Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (EMIA) CEO and president Laurent... 

New real-time monitoring system enhances safety
DAMAGE CONTROL The Tyre Damage Monitoring System uses algorithms to detect and predict failures before they become catastrophic

Wits, York University to develop AI Covid-19 project

By: Sane Dhlamini     3rd December 2020 The University of the Witwatersrand has teamed up with York University, in Canada to undertake an artificial intelligence project that will be used to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in Africa. The project will be carried out by the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Public Health Data... 

Wits, York University to develop AI Covid-19 project

Renowned Arecibo radio telescope collapses

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd December 2020 The feared but expected collapse of the famed Arecibo radio telescope, in the US territory of Puerto Rico, happened just before 08:00 Tuesday local time (just before 14:00 South African time). Fortunately, there were no injuries. Located in a natural hollow, Arecibo’s dish was spherical, not... 

Renowned Arecibo radio telescope collapses
Photo by University of Central Florida
The Arecibo radio telescope, photographed after the first main cable break in November but before the fall of the suspended instrument platform. Damage to the dish is clearly visible.

European Space Agency announces contract for removal of orbital debris

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th November 2020 The European Space Agency (ESA) is contracting Swiss start-up company ClearSpace to remove a piece of space debris from orbit, in a deal worth €86-million. The will be both the first ever mission to remove orbiting space debris and the first time ESA has contracted a private-sector company to... 

Indaba aims to encourage sector growth

By: Darren Parker     27th November 2020 Revitalising and growing manufacturers is the theme of this year’s Manufacturing Indaba, which aims to get the South African manufacturing industry stakeholders together to unpack the way forward towards growing their businesses. This year’s event was originally slated to take place on June 9 and... 

Indaba aims to  encourage sector growth
THIS TIME IT’S VIRTUAL This year’s Manufacturing Indaba will be entirely virtual and, therefore, free to attend

UK funds study into space-based solar power

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th November 2020 The British government has commissioned a study into the engineering and economic practicality of space-based solar power (SBSP) systems. More specifically, the study – the value of which has not been released – has been jointly commissioned by the UK Space Agency and the Department for Business,... 

Forge Academy launches AI lab in Johannesburg

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th November 2020 Nokia-powered education facility Forge Academy has unveiled a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory in Johannesburg. The laboratory, based at The Gantry, in Fourways, aims to equip students with theoretical, laboratory and on-the-job training for the Fourth Industrial Revolution... 

Fund helps South African universities unlock benefits of homegrown IP 

By: Donna Slater     25th November 2020 Since its inception in February, the University Technology Fund (UTF) has approved six investments. Technology and innovation incubated in South Africa’s universities is, as a result, being commercialised and a step closer to commercialisation, creating significant economic, investment and job... 

Fund helps South African universities unlock benefits of homegrown IP
SA SME Fund CEO Ketso Gordhan

Etion H1 earnings contract

By: Creamer Media Reporter      25th November 2020 JSE-listed Etion reported a decline in net profit to R4.9-million for the six months ended September 30, 2020, from R5.4-million reported in the corresponding six months last year. The group’s profit before tax increased by 45% from R5.4-million in the first half of 2019 to R7.9-million during... 

New sea-level monitoring satellite successfully launched

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd November 2020 The European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) sea-level monitoring Sentinel-6 satellite was successfully placed in orbit over the weekend, after being launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the US State of California on one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. The Sentinel-6 has, unusually for a satellite, a... 

New sea-level monitoring satellite successfully launched

Famed US radio telescope to be decommissioned due to structural instability

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th November 2020 The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that the world-renowned Arecibo Observatory, in the US territory of Puerto Rico, is to be decommissioned after 57 years of operation. The decommissioning is the result of structural weaknesses that have been discovered after a support cable... 

Famed US radio telescope to be decommissioned due to structural instability
Photo by University of Central Florida
A recent photograph of the Arecibo radio telescope; the damage to the dish is clearly apparent

Stronger advocacy needed to protect European business interests

By: Darren Parker     20th November 2020 The impact of Covid-19 on South Africa and Italy has highlighted the need for strong action to ensure that European business interests are protected in South Africa, according to a statement by Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries (ItalchamSA) secretary-general Pamina Bohrer... 

Stronger advocacy needed to protect European business interests
PAMINA BOHRER European business interests need to be protected in South Africa

Scientists discover more evidence that, in the past, women were hunters and fighters

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th November 2020   American archaeologists and anthropologists, supported by forensic scientists and physicists, have made a striking and theory-upsetting discovery in the Peruvian Andes. They uncovered the 9 000-year-old grave of a hunter – who was a woman. The burial site is located high in the Andes at a place... 

SA urged to pursue cybersecurity frameworks based on global best practice

By: Schalk Burger     20th November 2020 The data that public and private organisations capture and use, as well as its sensitivity, risk, and protection, are central not only to international best practices of cybersecurity, but also to laws and regulation. Information and communication technology (ICT) and law experts indicate that... 

SA urged to pursue cybersecurity frameworks based on global best practice

Communications satellite megaconstellation company about to exit bankruptcy protection

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th November 2020 In a webinar hosted by the Washington Space Business Roundtable in the US, small satellite megaconstellation broadband connectivity company OneWeb VP: Regulatory Affairs Ruth Pritchard-Kelly stated on Wednesday that the enterprise should exit bankruptcy protection “any day now”. The company,... 

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully docks at space station on its first regular mission

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th November 2020 The space capsule Resilience successfully has docked with the International Space Station (ISS), some 27 hours and 30 minutes after its launch from the US State of Florida. The spacecraft is executing the first ever regular, certified, commercial crewed flight, carrying four astronauts to the... 

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully docks at space station on its first regular mission
Photo by Nasa TV
The Crew Dragon capsule Resilience docked with the ISS

UK funds study into space-based solar power

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th November 2020 The British government has commissioned a study into the engineering and economic practicality of space-based solar power (SBSP) systems. More specifically, the study – the value of which has not been released – has been jointly commissioned by the UK Space Agency and the Department for Business,... 

SpaceX reaches another milestone with first regular crew launch

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th November 2020 The first US National Aeronautics and Space Administration- (Nasa-) certified regular commercial crewed spaceflight successfully launched in the early hours of Monday, South African time. The flight is being undertaken by private-sector enterprise SpaceX on behalf of Nasa, using the company’s... 

SpaceX reaches another milestone with first regular crew launch
Photo by Nasa
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew Dragon “Resilience” on the Crew-1 mission lifts off

AWS solutions unlock machine learning potential for Arçelik

By: Natasha Odendaal     16th November 2020 Global household appliances manufacturer Arçelik is establishing a companywide analytics and machine learning programme, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), as it transforms its appliance manufacturing business into a data-driven organisation. AWS was selected as the preferred cloud provider... 

New 5G lab unveiled at Tshimologong Innovation Precinct 

12th November 2020 Chinese information and communication technology giant Huawei, data-only network operator Rain and the University of the Witwatersrand have partnered to launch South Africa’s first 5G laboratory, located at the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, in Johannesburg. Natasha Odendaal tells... 

New 5G lab unveiled at Tshimologong Innovation Precinct
New 5G lab unveiled at Tshimologong Innovation Precinct

US space agency certifies SpaceX capsule for regular crewed missions

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th November 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) announced on Tuesday that it had certified SpaceX’s Commercial Crew transport system, allowing it to be regularly used to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). This certification follows the successful... 

US space agency certifies SpaceX capsule for regular crewed missions
Photo by Nasa
PHOTO The Falcon 9 rocket with attached Crew Dragon capsule Resilience at Launch Pad 39A, before being elevated into the vertical launch position

New hominin fossil suggests environmental conditions drove micro-evolution

By: Schalk Burger     10th November 2020 A newly discovered Paranthropus robustus fossil documents small-scale evolutionary changes. The fossil cranium shows evidence for micro-evolution and suggests environmental conditions drove rapid changes, says University of Johannesburg Palaeo-Research Institute project co-director Stephanie... 

New hominin fossil suggests environmental conditions drove micro-evolution
Stephanie Baker

Omnia expects to report 280% jump in interim earnings

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th November 2020 JSE-listed Omnia has advised that it expects to report a 280% to 300% year-on-year increase in earnings a share for the six months ended September 30. The group expects earnings a share to increase to between 146c and 154c.  

Virgin Galactic expects first powered test flight of its spacecraft within three weeks

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th November 2020 Sub-orbital crewed spaceflight company Virgin Galactic announced on Thursday that the first powered test flight of its SpaceShipTwo spaceplane will take place later this month. The test flight will be made from Spaceport America in the US State of New Mexico. The test flight will be conducted... 

Virgin Galactic expects first powered test flight of its spacecraft within three weeks
Photo by Virgin Galactic
A view from below of WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo beneath its wing centre section

Scientists discover that, in the far past, women hunted

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th November 2020 American archaeologists and anthropologists, supported by forensic scientists and physicists, have made a striking and theory-upsetting discovery in the Peruvian Andes. They uncovered the 9 000-year old grave of a hunter – who was a woman. The burial site is located high in the Andes at a place... 

Shift in strategy to maximise offering

By: Halima Frost     6th November 2020 Bearings manufacturer and distributor SKF held a virtual webinar last month to discuss the company’s three-pronged strategy shift to better meet client requirements.  “The strategy has encouraged every part of the company to rethink the way it works, especially SKF’s core research and development... 

Shift in strategy to maximise offering
LEARNING CURVE The ability to re-look at the company's research and development strategy has been important to SKF during the Covid-19 pandemic

Fibre-optic tech monitors bearing parameters

By: Halima Frost     6th November 2020 Bearing manufacturer and distributor SKF says its fibre-optic sensing technology used in its bearings to capture their working parameters, is “a world first”. The technology provides instant access to a variety of bearings data, including axial versus radial loads, polar lots of the bearing´s... 

Fibre-optic tech monitors bearing parameters
FULLY LOADED The fibre-optic load-sensing bearings developed by SKF gather data such as load and stress on pumps and compressors at a distance

Space agency seeks to boost European commercial space transport with new contracts

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th November 2020 The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed its first three contracts under its ‘Boost!’ programme, intended to encourage the development of commercial space transport services in Europe and to support equivalent national programmes in its member States. Boost! was authorised in November last year... 

Space agency seeks to boost European commercial space transport with new contracts
Artist’s impression of Isar Aerospace Technologies’ Spectrum rocket

European Space Agency awards contract to Airbus for climate data satellite project

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th November 2020 The European Space Agency (ESA), which is not part of the European Union, has signed a contract with Airbus UK to lead the system feasibility and predevelopment phase of the agency’s Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial and Helio Studies (Truths) satellite mission. This programme was... 

Competition Commission reviews inputs to strategy to tackle digital economy competition

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th November 2020 The Competition Commission is reviewing the submissions it has received in response to its proposed competitive strategy for South Africa’s digital economy in the future. The draft paper on Competition in the Digital Economy was published in September for public comment before October 30,... 

UJ professor becomes first African woman VP of global geological organisation

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd November 2020 A University of Johannesburg (UJ) professor has become the first African woman to be elected as a VP of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). She is Algerian-born South African Medical Geology Professor Hassina Mouri. The IUGS was founded in 1961 and is one of the largest... 

The International Space Station has been operational for 20 years

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd November 2020 Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the first crew on board of the International Space Station (ISS). More than 15 countries have worked together to build it, and, since the first three-man crew (Russians Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, and American William Shepherd) boarded... 

The International Space Station has been operational for 20 years
Photo by Nasa
The International Space Station

Nasa asteroid sample mission has successfully stowed its catch

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd November 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Nasa) has reported that its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has successfully stowed the sample of regolith (dust and pebbles) that it had secured from the surface of the asteroid Bennu. OSIRIS-REx is an acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource... 

Nasa asteroid sample mission has successfully stowed its catch
Photo by Nasa
Artist’s impression of OSIRIS-REx, with TAGSMA arm extended, about to conduct its touch-and-go with asteroid Bennu

Airbus Space announces technology breakthrough for producing oxygen on the Moon

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th October 2020 Airbus Defence and Space, a subsidiary of the Europe-based global Airbus group, has announced that an international team under its leadership has achieved an important technological breakthrough. They have successfully demonstrated a process invented by Airbus by producing oxygen and metals from... 

Nasa announces new lunar water discovery

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th October 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has announced that the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (Sofia) has, for the first time, confirmed the existence of water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery suggests that water may be much more widely... 

Nasa announces new lunar water discovery

The CSIR unveils its new logo and branding

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd October 2020 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Technology (CSIR), South Africa’s pre-eminent multidisciplinary research and development agency, revealed its new logo and branding on Friday. Its previous logo was the just the letters CSIR, but with the C, S and I linked together and the apparently... 

The CSIR unveils its new logo and branding
Photo by CSIR
The new CSIR logo
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