The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) will test launch of the UKZN Phoenix-1B sounding rocket at the Denel Overberg Test Range in the Western Cape. The launch is scheduled to take place on 18 February 2019. However, it is important to note, that unanticipated logistical and weather-related factors may result in the launch being postponed to a later date.

The launch is being undertaken as part of the University’s Phoenix Hybrid Sounding Rocket Programme, which seeks to develop an indigenous series of sounding rockets to serve the needs of the South African and African scientific research communities. Internationally, sounding rockets have and continue to play a crucial role in the facilitation of experiments conducted in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including bio-technology, astronomy, astrophysics, materials science and meteorology, among many others. The Phoenix-1B sounding rocket has been developed as a technology demonstration platform, and is expected to reach an altitude of 15 km during its flight.

The Department of Science and Technology is funding the project, which has enabled the university to develop key expertise in the engineering disciplines of rocket propulsion technology, launch vehicle design and flight dynamics modelling, as well as the development of appreciable human capital. It has also enabled unique cooperation between the University and industry.

The launch will be preceded by a tour of the Overberg Test Range facility including the launch pad. Following a formal programme the launch is scheduled to take place at 13:30


The media is invited as follows:

Date: 18 February 2019

Venue: Overberg Test Range, Arniston Western Cape

Time: 09:30

NB: Please send names and  identity numbers for accreditation, no one will be allowed into the facility without sending this.


Issued by the Department of Science and Technology

For more information contact Veronica Mohapeloa on 083 400 5750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.