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Science Engineering Technology

Nasa awards key propulsion contract for the future Mars mission

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th March 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) on Thursday awarded Northrop Grumman Systems, a unit of major US aerospace group Northrop Grumman, the contract to develop and support the Mars Ascent Propulsion System (MAPS), which is an essential element for the planned Mars Sample... 

CSIR launches new centre to support 21st century industries in South Africa

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th March 2021 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) officially launched its new Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF) on Friday. The new facility is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and is the fifth DSI-funded facility at the CSIR.  Photonics is usually associated... 

Concor, partner awarded MeerKAT/SKA radio telescope construction contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th March 2021 South African contractor Concor, in partnership with OptiPower, has been awarded a R212-million contract for the structural foundations and associated infrastructure for 24 additional dishes for South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array. MeerKAT currently has 64 dishes. The partners have also... 

New technologies can reinvigorate traditional production in developing countries

By: Schalk Burger     26th February 2021 New technologies can reinvigorate traditional production sectors and speed up industrialisation and economic structural transformation, says United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) technology and logistics division director Shamika Sirimanne. She adds that developing countries... 

UK, Australia sign first-of-its-type space sector partnership agreement

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th February 2021 In what has been described as the first such agreement in the world, the UK and Australia on Tuesday created a partnership to greatly strengthen space cooperation between the two countries in most, if not all, its dimensions. The agreement has been designated the Space Bridge. The two countries... 

Government commits to improving infrastructure spending 

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th February 2021 The 2021 Budget, presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on February 24, outlines that R93.1-billion has been earmarked for economic regulation and infrastructure, from consolidated government expenditure of R2.02-trillion each year over the medium term. To boost infrastructure spending,... 

SALT doubles grid-tied solar system, supported by year-long test

By: Schalk Burger     22nd February 2021 The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), in the Northern Cape, has added a new 53 kW solar installation to its grid-tied 40 kVA solar rooftop system. This follows after a system installed on the workshops of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) provided one year of operational... 

Concor partnership wins major MeerKAT/SKA radio telescope construction contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd February 2021 South African contractor Concor, in partnership with OptiPower, has been awarded a R212-million contract for the structural foundations and associated infrastructure for 24 additional dishes for South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array. MeerKAT currently has 64 dishes. The partners have also... 

Engineering approach to knee surgery using soft-tissue as blueprint achieving global acclaim

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2021 A knee-surgery technique developed by local orthopaedic surgeon Professor Ponky Firer that uses a patient’s soft tissues as a blueprint for surgery, is gaining world acclaim and has led to patient satisfaction rates that are higher than global averages while restoring mobility and quality of life... 

Perseverance gets Nasa to Mars again

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th February 2021 Late on Thursday night, South African time, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) latest Mars rover, Perseverance, successfully landed on the Red Planet. It touched down, as planned, in the 45 km-wide Jezero Crater, which lies on the western edge of a giant impact basin... 

Perseverance gets Nasa to Mars again
Photo by JPL
Photo taken in Perseverance mission control at Nasa JPL shortly after the rover landed on Mars, with the first images it transmitted from the Red Planet displayed on the large viewscreen

Storage high on the agenda for emerging economies

19th February 2021 Energy storage coupled with renewable energy ensures less intermittent supply of power, thereby solving balancing and system reliability issues, the Africa Energy Indaba stated in a January press release. 

Storage high on the agenda for emerging economies
SHAKING UP THE INDUSTRY Energy storage technologies are viewed as a potential game-changer for widespread adoption of renewable energy generation throughout Africa

SKA Observatory officially comes into being

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th February 2021 The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory (SKAO) is now active, following the first meeting of the SKAO Council on February 4. The current members of the SKAO are Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the UK. The SKA instrument will be co-hosted by South Africa and... 

New compounds, approaches could lead to elimination of malaria by 2030

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2021 Two new therapeutic chemical compounds and new community-based approaches to combating malaria, driven partly by lockdowns to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, have reinforced internationally agreed objectives that malaria can be eliminated by 2030, says social benefit organisation Goodbye Malaria... 

Business gears up to support mass-vaccination campaign despite variant setback

By: Donna Slater     19th February 2021 While government’s belated, yet accelerating, efforts to secure enough doses of an effective Covid-19 vaccine to begin a phased mass vaccination roll-out gathers momentum, several business organisations are finalising their plans to support the endeavour – one that is seen as crucial for creating... 

Business gears up to support mass-vaccination campaign despite variant setback

KZN Premier launches R252m science, technology academy

By: Yvonne Silaule     15th February 2021 KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on February 15 officially opened the R252-million Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Academy, in Durban. The academy comprises 20 classrooms, one specialist classroom, a library, three computer laboratories and an administration block. 

Drone cinematography programme launched to boost skills

By: Donna Slater     15th February 2021 As part of its Human Capital Development programme, provincial State entity and film industry support organisation, the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Film Commission has launched the Drone Technology Training programme. Since 2014, when the KZN Film Commission says the use of drones in filmmaking became... 

South Africa risks more inequality if it does not digitalise, says the WEF

By: Marleny Arnoldi     15th February 2021 The World Economic Forum (WEF) in its latest 'Global Risks Report 2021' finds that Covid-19 has not only claimed millions of lives, but also risks widened long-standing health, economic and digital disparities. The WEF, together with report collaborators professional services firms Marsh... 

WEF recognises local SharkSafe tech innovation

By: Schalk Burger     12th February 2021 The SharkSafe Barrier, developed by Stellenbosch University (SU) research commercialisation company Innovus, was recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) digital platform UpLink as one of the top ocean innovators and was chosen as one of eleven innovations that have the potential to address... 

Two countries place probes in Martian orbit for the first time

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th February 2021 This week two countries have been able to celebrate the safe insertion into Martian orbit of their space probes. And neither country had ever before launched an interplanetary mission. They are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose Hope (in Arabic, Amal) spacecraft entered Martian orbit on... 

Two countries place probes in Martian orbit for the first time
Photo by China National Space Administration
Mars, imaged by China’s Tianwen-1 at a distance of 2.2-million kilometres

Blended apprenticeship and digital artisan training proposed for Africa

By: Schalk Burger     12th February 2021 New approaches to artisan education in line with Industry 4.0 paradigms are being crafted that use a blend of digital training and apprenticeships, and are being proposed as a sustainable training model for Africa. Digital artisan training facilitator BluLever Education is launching a new... 

City of Joburg invites smart city innovation proposals

By: Schalk Burger     11th February 2021 The City of Johannesburg’s Smart City Office, in collaboration with digital innovation hub Tshimologong Innovation Precinct, invites technology and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) start-up companies to submit proposals for smart city innovative solutions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.... 

SpaceX selected for another important Nasa contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     10th February 2021 The US space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), has chosen renowned private-sector space company SpaceX to launch the core elements of the agency’s Moon-orbiting space station, Lunar Gateway. SpaceX was founded by South African-born engineer and entrepreneur Elon... 

Airbus goes big on 3D printing for satellite contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     10th February 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus is now engaged in large volume manufacturing of radio frequency (RF) components for satellites using additive layer manufacturing (ALM). Also known simply as additive manufacturing, ALM is popularly called 3D printing. RF components are of course... 

Airbus goes big on 3D printing for satellite contract
Photo by Airbus
Computer image of an Eurostar Neo satellite in orbit

Unusual type of supernova identified in the Milky Way

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th February 2021 A team of scientists from China, Japan, the Netherlands and the US have used data obtained from the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s Chandra X-ray space telescope to identify the first known example in our own galaxy (the Milky Way) of an unusual type of stellar explosion, known as a... 

Danfoss merges heating, cooling businesses to tackle climate change

By: Donna Slater     9th February 2021 Electronics and technological solutions company Danfoss has changed its group structure to combine the heating and cooling segments into Danfoss Climate Solutions in an effort to intensify its focus on the “green agenda” in attractive global markets. The company notes that “everywhere in the... 

5G health threats unfounded – CSIR 

By: Natasha Odendaal     8th February 2021 With concerns around fifth-generation (5G) technologies being raised by citizens across social media in recent months, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has put to bed the theories surrounding the new technologies' deployment on human health. Over the past few months,... 

5G health threats unfounded – CSIR
CSIR senior researcher Dr Essa Suleman and CSIR chief researcher Dr Fisseha Mekuria discuss the speculation that 5G causes health issues. Date recorded: 08/02/2021.

The Square Kilometre Array Observatory has been launched 

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th February 2021 The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) highlighted on Monday that the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory (SKAO) was now active, following the first meeting of the SKAO Council on February 4. The current members of the SKAO are Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal,... 

The Square Kilometre Array Observatory has been launched
Photo by SKAO/SARAO/ICRAR
A composite computer nocturnal image showing the South African SKA on the left and the Australian SKA on the right

In US, Biden administration confirms Artemis programme is still go

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th February 2021 The new US administration of President Joe Biden has confirmed that it is committed to continuing with the Artemis programme. Artemis is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (Nasa's) new crewed space programme, intended to return men and take the first women to the Moon. Artemis... 

Govt has secured vaccines for 26-million people 

By: Sane Dhlamini     5th February 2021 Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize revealed on Friday that government had secured enough Covid-19 vaccines for 26-million people, so far, with more agreements in the pipeline. He revealed that China could be one of the countries that South Africa procures vaccines from. On Monday, the country... 

Govt has secured vaccines for 26-million people
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize

US-based scientists develop global extreme wind speed atlas to help wind energy sector

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th February 2021 Scientists at Cornell University’s Cornell Atkinson Centre for Sustainability, in Ithaca in New York state in the US, have developed a new, digital, global wind atlas. Entitled “A Global Assessment of Extreme Wind Speeds for Wind Energy Applications”, it was unveiled in a paper published in the... 

SA and French space agencies agree on implementation of their latest partnership

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th February 2021 The French Embassy in South Africa has highlighted the cooperation between the two countries’ space agencies. These are Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES – the National Centre for Space Studies) and the South African National Space Agency.  This followed the two agencies reaching an... 

Airbus wins new contract for essential modules for Artemis crewed Moon spacecraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd February 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has been awarded a repeat order by the European Space Agency (ESA) for three service modules for use in the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s (Nasa’s) Artemis programme. (ESA is not an agency of the European Union.) This takes Airbus’... 

Wärtsilä South Africa achieves Level 4 BBBEE rating

By: Marleny Arnoldi     1st February 2021 Technology group Wärtsilä South Africa has achieved a Level 4 broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) rating. The company has been operating in South Africa since 1994 and has a good record in Africa, having supplied more than 7 000 MW of power plants across the continent. 

Drone tech allows for expansion

By: Theresa Bhowan     29th January 2021 With technology advancement in the drone industry and drone access expanding from military to commercial use, rope access specialists Skyriders found that drones could be successfully used in the inspection of boilers and other confined spaces. “Industries are constantly developing, and the... 

Drone tech allows for expansion
TEENY TINY SPACES Drones have good lighting and high-resolution imaging technology that can take accurate images of the environment within a boiler

CSIR, Nedbank join RES4Africa to further renewable energy development

By: Donna Slater     28th January 2021 Pretoria-based research organisation the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and financial services provider Nedbank have become members of renewable energy lobby organisation the Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa (RES4Africa) Foundation. Their membership was approved and... 

US implements new travel restrictions

By: Sane Dhlamini     27th January 2021 From January 30, at 12:01am EST, entry will be suspended for all foreign nationals who were in South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their travel to the US. In a statement from the US Embassy on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden’s proclamation comes into effect until further notice, as... 

US implements new travel restrictions

University of Johannesburg scientist’s work boosted by astronomical observation data

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th January 2021 A model to predict gamma ray burst (GRB) behaviour, developed by a team headed by University of Johannesburg Centre for Astro-Particle Physics director Prof. Soebur Razzaque, has been strongly supported by observational data. The data came from observations of a GRB detected on April 15 last year... 

University of Johannesburg scientist’s work boosted by astronomical observation data
Photo by European Southern Observatory
NGC 253, the Sculpture Galaxy, whose central region was the source of the GRB 200415A burst
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