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Elon Musk’s SpaceX to Launch 3 South African-Made Nanosatellites: Why This Is Historically Important

Elon Musk is giving a major hat-tip to his birthplace by launching the first nanosatellite constellation made entirely in South Africa on today’s SpaceX Transporter-3 mission.

What Happened

According to a report from South Africa’s News24, the three nanosatellites are part of the first Maritime Domain Awareness Satellite constellation (MDASat-1) and will be deployed in low Earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 326 miles.

According to the South African Department of Science and Innovation, the nanosatellites will be used to monitor the nation’s coastline.

Why It Matters

This will be the first time a satellite constellation developed entirely on the African continent will orbit the Earth. Blade Nzimande, South Africa’ minister of higher education, science, and innovation, hailed the launch as a major step forward for his nation’s space industry.

“This will further cement South Africa’s position as an African leader in small satellite development and help the country to capture a valuable share of a niche market in the fast-growing global satellite value chain,” said Nzimande, whose department allocated $1.7 million into the three-year development of the MDASat constellation.

Musk, whose leadership of SpaceX and Tesla Inc. made him the world’s richest person with a $282 billion net worth, was born in the South African capital of Pretoria in 1971. He emigrated in 1989 to Canada and relocated to the U.S. in 1992, acquiring citizenship 10 years later.

By Phil Hall

© 2021 The Epoch Times. The Epoch Times does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.


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