The Satellite Application Centre (SAC) book was created in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the CSIR Satellite Applications Centre at Hartebeesthoek, now incorporated under the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and known as Space Operations. The idea of this commemorative book was born in 2010 and the aim was to bring to life SAC's participation in major space programmes, from the pioneering NASA days in the 1960s and 1970s, to the launch of SumdandilaSat, South Africa's own, locally manufactured micro Earth observation satellite in 2009. The SAC story however, began in 1957 when a Minitrack Station was established in South Africa to support the United States space research programme and the launch of the world's first artificial satellite by the Russians known as Sputnik-1. The CSIR's involvement in both these activities set the course for South Africa's participation in space activities.
The SAC period brought closure to South Africa's first era in space exploration, however, the current era, steered by SANSA has brought about an increasing reliance on space-based applications to address major societal challenges in the country and worldwide. This website has been created to extend the scope of the book with contributions from everyone who shared the SAC journey. We take pleasure in inviting colleagues, partners, families and friends locally and abroad with an interest, or who participated in SAC's history, to share memories, stories and photographs on this site so that the SAC story lives on. Our thanks go to everyone who contributed to the development of this book.