22 February 2006
French satellite systems firm Alcatel Alenia Space has signed a skills development agreement with South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to develop space science expertise in the country.
Under the agreement, the CSIR and Alcatel Alenia Space will cooperate in the space domain to strengthen their respective competencies and knowledge, with the ultimate aim of contributing to socio-economic progress both in South Africa and France.
Cooperation is envisaged in the areas of landcover mapping; platform development and electronics; broadband solutions via satellite; satellite navigation and transport applications; spatial data infrastructure; and development in astronomy-related initiatives.
“Where human resource development is concerned, the CSIR and Alcatel have earmarked the areas of navigation, earth observation, environmental research and meteorology,” said Phil Mjwara, CSIR group executive for research and development (R&D).
“Our collaboration will include R&D activities in satellite programmes, space data information systems, and customers’ requests for information, to mention but a few areas,” Mjwara said.
Alcatel South Africa CEO Linda Khumalo said the agreement would “pave the way for the implementation of space projects enabling us to bridge the digital divide within Africa.”
A steering committee comprising three people from the CSIR and three from Alcatel will oversee the implementation of the agreement, as well as identify projects for collaboration.
The CSIR is a statutory research and development, technology and innovation institution.
Alcatel Alenia Space, an affiliate of Alcatel and Finmeccanica, is a European leader in satellite systems and space technology.