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24 May, 2024 13:44

South Africa backs Russian proposal to create BRICS space council

Specialists from the space agencies of the bloc’s member states have convened for a two-day meeting in Moscow
South Africa backs Russian proposal to create BRICS space council

Russia’s initiative to create a space council within the BRICS group has received the backing of South Africa, according to Humbulani Mudau, executive director of Pretoria’s National Space Agency (SANSA).  

Mudau made the statement on Thursday at the start of a two-day summit of the heads of the space agencies of the BRICS member states in Moscow, TASS reported.  

“We see the Russian proposal to create a BRICS space council. We will develop our cooperation in this direction; South Africa supports this initiative,” the SANSA director is quoted as saying.  

Last October, Yury Borisov, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, proposed to the BRICS group during the International Astronautical Congress in Azerbaijan that a specialized module on the Russian Orbital Station (ROS) be developed to foster cooperation in space exploration.  

Borisov stated that members of the bloc are interested in Moscow’s Sfera (Sphere) multi-satellite orbital constellation project.  

President Vladimir Putin has previously called for Russia to increase its space services exports to Asia, Africa, and Latin America in order to support its partners’ “large-scale social and economic plans.”  

The space agency of Egypt, which recently joined BRICS along with Ethiopia, Iran, and United Arab Emirates began discussing space cooperation with Roscosmos in June, including satellite production and launches, manned program development, and surface space infrastructure.

SANSA announced a bilateral agreement with Roscosmos in 2021 to build the PanEOS antenna facility, which is a Russian project for automatically detecting space debris in near-Earth orbit.  

The space agency of Egypt, which recently joined BRICS along with Ethiopia and Iran, began discussing space cooperation with Roscosmos in June, including satellite production and launches, manned program development, and surface space infrastructure.  

In an interview with RT on the sidelines of the space agency chiefs meeting on Thursday, Sherif Sedky, the head of the Egyptian Space Agency, said Cairo’s membership in BRICS allows it to extend its long-standing ties with Russia to other members of the organization.  

“It’s our first meeting to join the heads of space agencies. So it’s a really good opportunity for us to gain experience in the existing opportunities,” Abdissa Yilma, a representative of the Ethiopian government at the summit, also told RT.

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