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Science Engineering Technology

Blue Origin becomes second space company to successfully conduct crewed suborbital flight

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st July 2021 US crewed suborbital space launch company Blue Origin successfully conducted its first crewed spaceflight on Tuesday. The New Shepard vehicle lifted off from the company’s Launch Site One, located in the west of the US state of Texas, at 09h12, US Eastern Time, carrying four passengers, and... 

UK unveils proposals to boost competition and curb market dominance in its digital sector

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th July 2021 The UK government revealed on Tuesday its proposals to boost competition in the country’s digital economy and curb the power of the currently dominant players in the sector. This starts the public consultation phase of the development of the proposals. The government’s plan is centred on the... 

US researchers discover sex differences in development of brain cell networks

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th July 2021 Researchers at the Joan C Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University (in Huntington in the US state of West Virginia) have discovered evidence that there are differences in the development of neuron (brain cell) networks between males and females in mammals. Their research has shown that... 

Boeing’s new space capsule integrated with carrier rocket for second uncrewed test flight

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th July 2021 The US space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), has reported that the Boeing CST-100 Starliner crewed space craft and its launch rocket, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V, have been fully assembled at ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral... 

Hubble Space Telescope operational again

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th July 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) successfully returned the renowned Hubble Space Telescope to operational status on Saturday. The telescope had been non-operational since June 13, when its payload computer had developed a problem. “Hubble is an icon, giving us... 

Opportunities to improve artisan programme despite slow start

By: Cameron Mackay     16th July 2021 While the Artisan 4.0 programme is still in its first year, there are various opportunities to improve the programme going forward, says industry education entity the Colliery Training College (CTC) MD Johan Venter. CTC introduced the Artisan 4.0 programme last year in four phases, as the... 

JOHAN VENTER
All employers, regardless of industry, are at various stages of digitalization; and those that are further down the road of digitalization are showing more interest
JOHAN VENTER All employers, regardless of industry, are at various stages of digitalization; and those that are further down the road of digitalization are showing more interest

Wits, France CNRS sign scientific excellence cooperation agreement

By: Schalk Burger     13th July 2021 The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Zeblon Vilakazi and French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) CEO Professor Antoine Petit have signed a bipartite agreement for research cooperation to foster scientific excellence. The framework... 

Nasa finalises key crewed lunar exploration programme contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th July 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has finalised a $935-million firm fixed-price contract with major US aerospace group Northrop Grumman for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (Halo) module of the Gateway outpost. Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will be responsible... 

An artist’s impression of the integrated Halo and PPE modules orbiting the Moon
Photo by Northrop Grumman
An artist’s impression of the integrated Halo and PPE modules orbiting the Moon

Virgin Galactic conducts first space test flight with full crew in cabin

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th July 2021 US sub-orbital space tourism company Virgin Galactic successfully executed, on Sunday, the first test flight of its ‘Virgin Space Ship Unity’ (VSS Unity) with the spaceplane carrying into space a full crew in its cabin. That flight was also VSS Unity’s 22nd test flight. The test flight crew... 

A shot of the interior of VSS Unity’s cabin after it had achieved zero gravity conditions in space, with Sir Richard Branson upsidedown in the foreground and Sirisha Bandla just visible in the background on the right
The interior of VSS Unity’s cabin after it had achieved zero gravity conditions in space, with Sir Richard Branson and Sirisha Bandla

UK provides another funding grant to company developing revolutionary rocket technology

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th July 2021 The UK Space Agency has made a further grant of £3.9-million (R76.75-million) to British high-tech engineering company Reaction Engines, to further support the development of revolutionary SABRE technology. SABRE stands for Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, which, as its name says, is an... 

Drone and NDT firm join forces

By: Halima Frost     9th July 2021 Materials testing and inspection service provider Dekra Industrial has joined forces with aerial solutions and drone services company Sky Africa Drones to offer a drone inspection service that combines the technologies of high scope non-destructive testing (NDT) systems with the manoeuvrability... 

SKY HIGH
The use of drones to conduct non-destructive testing on taller installations and hard to reach areas is even more possible
SKY HIGH The use of drones to conduct non-destructive testing on taller installations and hard to reach areas is even more possible

Deloitte’s Dr Davies appointed to 4IR Task Force by Namibian government

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     8th July 2021 The Namibian government has appointed professional services network Deloitte Emerging Markets and Africa MD Dr Martyn Davies to its Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Task Force. The eight-member panel, which was announced this week and was appointed by President Hage Geingob of Namibia, is set... 

Pandemic accelerates key business growth drivers of digitalisation, sustainability

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     7th July 2021 Digitalisation is critical to driving business growth and operational stability with sustainability at the core, and digital technologies can be used to achieve a more sustainable and resilient future, speakers indicated during energy management solutions provider Schneider Electric’s Innovation... 

Another new astronomical discovery achieved using South Africa’s MeerKAT array

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th July 2021 South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array has allowed another breakthrough in astronomy. Using data gathered by the MeerKAT International Gigahertz Tiered Extragalactic Exploration (MIGHTEE) survey, a team of international and South African researchers have discovered what is probably the most... 

An image showing a part of the MeerKAT telescope array in South Africa
Photo by SARAO
A view of part of the MeerKAT array

New joint industry-research institution laboratory for aviation materials created in France

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th July 2021 French aerospace group Dassault Aviation, renowned for its Mirage and Rafale fighters and Falcon business jets, has combined with leading French research institutions to establish a laboratory to research and develop new materials for use in aviation, particularly regarding acoustics, anti-icing... 

WhatsApp chatbot helping diabetes patients

By: Schalk Burger     5th July 2021 Healthcare specialists at Stellenbosch University (SU) have launched a WhatsApp-based chatbot to help patients with diabetes effectively navigate risks associated with diabetes and Covid-19 from the comfort and safety of their homes. The GREAT4Diabetes chatbot is a free service that sends... 

Airbus integrates robotic arm on new module for International Space Station

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th July 2021 Airbus Defence and Space, part of the Europe-based global Airbus group, announced on Monday that it had installed the European Robotic Arm (ERA) on to the ‘Nauka’ multipurpose laboratory module (MLM) for the International Space Station (ISS). The installation included the equipping of the Nauka... 

European Space Agency reports major progress in Mars probe landing parachute tests

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th July 2021 The European Space Agency (ESA) has reported that the first successful high-altitude drop tests for the braking parachutes for the joint ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars probe have taken place. The ExoMars mission is scheduled for launch in September 2022 and will be composed of ESA’s Rosalind Franklin... 

KPMG Private Enterprise crowns Khula! as Africa’s top tech innovator

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd July 2021 KPMG South Africa has announced the winners of its four-month long KPMG Private Enterprise Tech Innovator in Africa competition, which sought to recognise Africa’s most successful technology innovators across the continent, with Khula! coming out as the leading tech innovator. This global... 

PPPs can resuscitate infrastructure

By: Nadine Ramdass     2nd July 2021 Private-public partnerships (PPPs) can help improve South Africa’s water infrastructure and create opportunities for the introduction of technological advancements in the sector, says water solutions company Veolia South Africa GM Chris Braybrooke. The South African water infrastructure is in a... 

DURBAN WATER RECYCLING PROJECT
DWR is a success model for PPPs
DURBAN WATER RECYCLING PROJECT DWR is a success model for PPPs

Technology can improve infrastructure

By: Nadine Ramdass     2nd July 2021 Embracing and implementing technological solutions can improve South Africa’s water infrastructure and systems, which are currently in a “state of disarray”, says water treatment solutions company Watericon process engineer Pako Khutsoane. The infrastructure is in “complete disorder”, owing to... 

TREATMENT IN THABAZIMBI
Smaller plants can help improve water infrastructure
TREATMENT IN THABAZIMBI Smaller plants can help improve water infrastructure

SKA designs result of years of development work by hundreds of international experts

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th June 2021 The recent decision by the Council of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio astronomy Observatory (SKAO) to formally start construction on Thursday (July 1) is the result of more than seven years of design and engineering work. These endeavours were consolidated in two key documents, published... 

Construction of the world’s biggest radio telescope observatory authorised to start 

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th June 2021 South Africa’s National Research Foundation and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory jointly announced on Tuesday that the seven member countries of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory (SKAO) had authorised the start of construction of the two arrays that will form the... 

Composite artist's image showing the South African (left) and Australian (right) SKA arrays.
Photo by SKA Observatory
Composite artist's image showing the South African (left) and Australian (right) SKA arrays.

TIA-supported young innovators launch products

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     29th June 2021 Five young innovators supported by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), on June 29 launched and showcased their products to the public. The innovators were supported through the TIA’s Grassroots Innovation Programme (GIP), which... 

SpaceX aims for orbital launch of its latest rocket next month, but regulatory hurdles remain

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th June 2021 US private-sector space company SpaceX, founded and effectively led by South African-born engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk, hopes to be ready next month to carry out the first orbital launch of its new Starship spacecraft. This was stated on Friday at the (US) National Space Society’s... 

An artist’s impression of a SuperHeavy rocket launching a Starship
Photo by SpaceX
An artist’s impression of a SuperHeavy rocket launching a Starship

Virgin Galactic now licensed to carry passengers into space

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th June 2021 US suborbital crewed spaceflight company Virgin Galactic announced on Friday that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had updated the company’s commercial space transportation operator licence (which was originally issued in 2016). The update allows Virgin Galactic to fly paying... 

A view of VSS Unity, in space, in re-entry configuration
Photo by Virgin Galactic
A view of VSS Unity, in space, in re-entry configuration

Industry 4.0 training key to ensuring South Africa is not left behind

By: Darren Parker     25th June 2021 To fully realise the potential of Industry 4.0 and remain relevant as the way of conducting business evolves, South African organisations should consider making strategic investments in infrastructure and technology as soon as possible. However, these investments will be rendered ineffective if... 

Industry 4.0 training key to ensuring South Africa is not left behind

AUDA-Nepad launches centre to accelerate impact of science on Africa's development

By: Schalk Burger     22nd June 2021 The African Union Development Agency New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-Nepad) on June 22 launched a centre of excellence (CoE) in science, technology and innovation to upscale and commercialise home-grown innovations on the continent. The centre was launched in partnership with... 

Scientists report that the planet Venus may still be geologically active

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd June 2021 Scientists at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in the US have reported that they have found evidence of tectonic motion in the crust – also called the lithosphere – of the planet Venus. Tectonics refers to the large-scale movement of rocks, originally in the Earth’s crust or lithosphere. On... 

Wits robotics team to compete in soccer RoboCup

By: Schalk Burger     21st June 2021 The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) will participate in the three-dimensional simulation league of the RoboCup – a yearly artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics event with the goal to advance the state of the art of intelligent robots. Computer science students from the School of... 

Wits robotics team to compete in soccer RoboCup

Rolls-Royce announces net zero emissions plans

By: Donna Slater     17th June 2021 Power and propulsion engineering company Rolls-Royce has announced its plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, at the latest. The company’s actions and the development of new low-carbon technologies will enable the users of such products to, in turn, lower their carbon emissions,... 

MeerKAT image reveals cosmic threads, ribbons and rings

By: Simone Liedtke     17th June 2021 A new study using the MeerKAT radio telescope, in South Africa’s Northern Cape, has produced a striking image showing a combination of cosmic features never seen before, revealing unexpected details of the inner workings of enormous radio galaxies. At the centre of the giant elliptical galaxy IC... 

The Fanaroff-Riley Type I radio galaxy IC 4296
The Fanaroff-Riley Type I radio galaxy IC 4296

100 start-ups included in WEF's list of 2021 Technology Pioneers

By: Schalk Burger     15th June 2021 International organisation the World Economic Forum (WEF) on June 15 announced its 2021 Technology Pioneers, with 100 new technology firms included in the cohort for this year. The Technology Pioneers are young and growing technology companies taking on top global concerns with innovative... 

EOH disposes of Sybrin

By: Donna Slater     9th June 2021 Technology services company EOH has entered into a share purchase agreement for the sale of Sybrin to a consortium group comprising One Thousand & One Voices (1K1V) Management and Crossfin Technology (CFTH) and their black economic empowerment partners led by Isaac Mophatlane. The sale is for a... 

Showcase to be hosted to boost tech SMMEs

By: Donna Slater     9th June 2021 Fourth Industrial Revolution laboratory Forge Academy, in partnership with Nokia and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) SMME Chamber, will host a showcase for small and medium-sized tech businesses and tech startups in Fourways on June 30. The showcase is aimed at highlighting... 

CSIR, Deloitte ink MoU for 4IR centre collaboration

By: Natasha Odendaal     9th June 2021 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Deloitte South Africa have signed a memorandum of understanding to support the World Economic Forum Affiliate Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa (C4IR SA) as it accelerates the application of emerging... 

University of Pretoria scientists using artificial avocados to investigate fruit damage in transit

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th June 2021 Researchers at the Engineering 4.0 facility of the University of Pretoria (UP) are conducting a project to determine damage suffered by fresh produce while being transported intercontinentally from the growers to the retailers. They are doing so by using artificial ‘avocados’, produced by means... 

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