Thursday, 13 January 2022 18:29

Watch Live:SpaceX to launch South African MDASat-1 satellite constellation into orbit.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

SpaceX is launching three South African nanosatellites – known as the MDASat1 satellite constellation – onboard a Falcon 9 rocket as part of the Transporter-3 mission.

"A first for South Africa’s space industry, three locally produced nanosatellites will be launched into space today," the department of science and innovation said in a statement.

SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 rocket booster classified as B1058 – the company’s own partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle – to carry the cargo into space.

Following a successful liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Space station at the Kennedy Space Centre in the United States, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage will return to Landing Zone 1.

If anything goes wrong prior to liftoff, a backup launch window has been scheduled for Friday, 4 January at 5:25pm SAST.

If the launch is successful, however, the South African nanosatellite consolation will be deployed in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 525 kilometres.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande commended the team involved and said the launch will "further cement South Africa’s position as an African leader in small satellite development".

This, in turn, will assist South Africa "to capture a valuable share of a niche market in the fast-growing global satellite value chain", Nzimande said.

Watch Live Below:

 Video Courtesy of SpaceX.