Making Sense of Our World Through Space Science and Technology

Dr Val Munsami

  • Duration: 60 min
  • Language: English
  • Ages: All Ages
  • Date: October 23, 2020 16:00
  • Recorded: Live session with recording available afterwards
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The presentation provides a basic understanding of the key concepts of space science and technology and how this is used to support our modern day standard of living. We will explore how satellites are placed in orbit and how they are used to gather and pass on information that we use on a daily basis. We will also explore the various disciplines of space science and technology, such as earth observation, navigation and positioning, telecommunications, space weather phenomenon, and space operations. We will then get a glimpse of the important work that is being done by the South African National Space Agency and how these activities support the government in making better decisions that influence and affect our everyday lives. We will also talk about the new and exciting initiatives that SANSA will be working on over the next five years and about our student outreach and support programmes and how you could take up a career in these exciting opportunities.


Dr Munsami holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Kwazulu Natal and a Masters degree in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa, a Space Studies Program Diploma from the International Space University, and a Certificate in International Air, Space and Telecommunications Law from the University of Pretoria. In 2002, he joined the Department of Trade and Industry, as Deputy Director, working on issues relating to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the space sector. In 2005, he joined the National Research Foundation, as a Manager, where he oversaw the implementation of South Africa’s bilateral science and technology agreements, the management of South Africa’s membership to a number of science and technology multilateral fora, and oversight of the South African chapter of the International Scientific Union (ICSU). In 2007, he joined the Department of Science and Technology as Director for Space Science and Technology, where he was involved in the development of South Africa’s National Space Strategy and National Space Policy and oversaw the establishment of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). Within the same institution, he was promoted to Deputy Director-General: Research, Development and Innovation, where he was responsible for Space Science, Radio Astronomy, Biotechnology and Health, Hydrogen and Energy, and Innovations Instruments. On winning the bid to co-host the SKA in 2012, he then became the Chief Specialist for Astronomy and African Space Science. In this role, he led the development of South Africa’s Multi-Wavelength Astronomy Strategy and the SKA Readiness Strategy. He also chaired the African Union Space Working Group, which was tasked with the development of the African Space Policy and the African Space Strategy that was approved by the African Union Heads of State in January 2016. As of January 2017, he has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SANSA. He is currently a member of the South African Council for Space Affairs (SACSA) and is a Vice President of the International Astronautic Federation (IAF). He has been recently inducted as an academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and sits on the Advisory Boards of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and the UAE’s International Space Congress.