The HartRAO site has become a station of international standing, and the addition of the new Russian SLR station increases its reputation in geodesy.

A new satellite tracking system will be unveiled at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO), west of Johannesburg on Monday, 27 February.

HartRAO, a facility of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) entity, the National Research Foundation (NRF) will host the new Russian satellite tracking system, which will be used to track the Russian GLONASS satellite (Russian version of the USA GPS), to calibrate satellite orbits. It will also track other satellites mostly used for scientific research purposes.

South Africa’s hosting of the Russian Satellite Laser Ranger (SLR) system, solidifies the country as a significant space science research partner globally, and further avenues for new scientific collaborations, and building relations with other partners.

HartRAO already hosts the USA Moblas6 SLR system (which is older technology but still very accurate), and with the addition of the Russian SLR, larger and higher quality data output from both collocated stations will be generated.

The HartRAO site has become a station of international standing, and with the addition of the new Russian SLR station, improves its stature as a global “Fundamental Station”.

All these geodetic networks are international as they need to be located over the globe for good geometry and data coverage purposes; and it is advantageous that South Africa was chosen for this collaboration.

The Media is invited as follows:

DATE:             Monday, 27 February

VENUE:          Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO)-GPS coordinates Latitude 25° 53' 27.1" south (Longitude 027° 41' 12.7" east

TIME:           15:30

For media confirmations:Please contact Zama Mthethwa on 082 808 3956