Encyclopedia Astronautica
South Africa



overberg.gif
Overberg Test Range
Credit: © Mark Wade
South Africa

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Melvill Melvill, Michael Winston 'Mike' (1941-) South African-American test pilot rocketplane pilot. Flew on SpaceShipOne Flight 15P, SpaceShipOne Flight 16P. More...
  • Shuttleworth Shuttleworth, Mark Richard Republic 'Buranov' (1973-) South African tourist cosmonaut. Flew on ISS EP-3. First South African astronaut. More...

Associated Spacecraft
  • Greensat South African earth land resources satellite. Cancelled 1990. The South African RSA-3 launch vehicle was designed to place a small surveillance satellite of 330 kg mass into a 41 degree, 212 x 460 km orbit around the earth. More...
  • Sunsat South African technology satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. Sunsat was built by students at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and carried a small imager and a message relay payload. More...

Associated Engines
  • RSA-3-1 South Africansolid rocket engine. 500 kN. Out of production. Built in both Israel and South Africa for RSA-3 and Shavit. Source: Missile exhibit and placards, AF Museum, South Africa. Isp=273s. First flight 1988. More...
  • RSA-4-2 South African solid rocket engine. 676 kN. Development ended 1994. Isp=275s. Used on RSA-4 launch vehicle. More...
  • RSA-4-1 South Africansolid rocket engine. 1520 kN. Development ended 1994. Isp=263s. Used on RSA-4 launch vehicle. More...
  • RSA-3-2 South African solid rocket engine. 519 kN. In production. Built in both Israel and South Africa for RSA-3 and Shavit. Source: Missile exhibit and placards, AF Museum, South Africa. Isp=284s. First flight 1988. More...
  • RSA-3-3 South Africansolid rocket engine. 51 kN. In production. Israeli AUS-51 rocket motor, built in both Israel and South Africa. Isp=292s. Upper stage engine for RSA-3, RSA-4, Shavit, Shavit 1. First flight 1988. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • RSA South African orbital launch vehicle. Israel and South Africa collaborated closely in rocket technology in the 1970's and 1980's. South Africa provided Israel with the uranium and test facilities it needed for its strategic weapons programmes. In exchange Israel provided aerospace technology. This included the capability of building the ten-tonne solid propellant rocket motors designed for the Israeli Jericho-2 missile. These motors were the basis of two space launchers for an indigenous 'R5b' space programme. It seems that South Africa also planned to use these motors in a series of missiles to provide a nuclear deterrent. More...
  • RSA-3 The RSA-3 satellite launcher began development as an IRBM in the 1980's because of the perceived Soviet threat and isolation of South Africa. It was developed with the assistance of Israel and was believed to be essentially identical to the Israeli Jericho missile/Shavit launch vehicle. The objective of the satellite launcher was to place a small surveillance satellite of 330 kg mass into a 41 degree, 212 x 460 km orbit around the earth. Development continued even after South African renunciation of its nuclear weapons. However the launcher was found not to be viable commercially and so was cancelled in mid-1994. More...
  • RSA-1 It is conjectured that this designation was assigned to an intermediate range single-stage ballistic missile consisting of the first stage of the RSA-3. Purported mission was to strike Cuban military concentrations from mobile launchers on South African territory. The rocket motor closely followed the design of the Israeli Jericho-2 first stage. More...
  • RSA-2 South African intermediate range ballistic missile. It is conjectured that this designation was assigned to an intermediate range ballistic missile consisting of the first and second stages of the RSA-3. Probably very similar to, or a licensed copy of the Israeli Jericho-2 missile. A third stage apogee kick motor was added to produce the RSA-3 space launcher. More...
  • RSA-4 South African all-solid orbital launch vehicle. The RSA-4 ICBM / satellite launcher was a planned follow-on to the RSA-3. A large new first stage optimised the vehicle and more than doubled the payload in comparison to the RSA-3. It is not known if the project reached the point of testing of the large motor, which was equivalent to the US Peacekeeper first stage. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Armsco South African agency. State Arms Procurement Agency, South Africa. More...
  • Stellenbosch South African manufacturer of spacecraft. Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. More...
  • Denel South African manufacturer of spacecraft. Denel, South Africa. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Overberg The Overberg Test Range (OTR) was developed by the Houwteq organization in the 1980's as part of South Africa's ballistic missile and R5b space program. It was located at the southernmost tip of Africa on the south-eastern coast of the Western Cape at Latitude 34 deg 35 min S and Longitude 20 deg 19 min E. The facility had a total area of 43,000 hectares. More...

Associated Stages
  • RSA-3-1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 10,215/1,100 kg. Thrust 456.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 265 seconds. Source: Missile exhibit and placards, AF Museum, South Africa. More...
  • RSA-3-2 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 10,971/1,771 kg. Thrust 476.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 277 seconds. Source: Missile exhibit and placards, AF Museum, South Africa. Empty mass includes 583 kg for payload shroud, guidance, orientation and spin-up platform that positions stage 3 and payload for final orbital insertion burn. More...
  • RSA-3-3 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,048/170 kg. Thrust 58.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 298 seconds. Data accurate. Source: Missile exhibit and placards, AF Museum, South Africa. ARC/Rafael AUS 51 is identical. More...
  • RSA-4-1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 66,000/8,000 kg. Thrust 1,520.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 270 seconds. Vacuum specific impulse / thrust estimated. Sea leval 139,000 kNs delivered over 73 seconds. Includes 3400 kg mass of fins, interstage and upper-stage constant-diameter fairing ('sleeve') which is jettisoned after first stage burnout. More...
  • RSA-4-2 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 11,000/2,000 kg. Thrust 470.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 277 seconds. Essentially identical to RSA-3 second stage. Includes 1000 kg upper stage avionic section / spin table, which is jettisoned prior to stage three ignition. More...
  • RSA-4-3 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,000/100 kg. Thrust 59.13 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 292 seconds. Essentially identical to RSA-3 third stage. Oriented and spun up by 1000 kg avionic section/spin platform, which separates prior to ignition. More...
  • RSA-4-4 Hydrazine propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 300/100 kg. Thrust 0.40 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 230 seconds. Specific impulse estimated. Maximum propellant load indicated (hydrazine monopropellnat contained in 4 x 50 l tanks). Upper stage used for orbit circularization at apogee, dispensing of dual payloads, third station nutation damping. Equipped with 2 x 200 N engines for maneuver, 4 x 200 N for roll control, and 4 x 25 N for yaw and pitch. More...

South Africa Chronology


1903 October 8 - .
  • Johannesburg Observatory founded. - . Nation: South Africa.

1973 September 18 - .
1989 June 1 - . Launch Site: Overberg. LV Family: RSA. Launch Vehicle: RSA-3. LV Configuration: RSA-3-d 1.
1989 July 6 - . Launch Site: Overberg. LV Family: RSA. Launch Vehicle: RSA-3. LV Configuration: RSA-3 2.
1990 November 19 - . Launch Site: Overberg. LV Family: RSA. Launch Vehicle: RSA-3. LV Configuration: RSA-3 3.
1994 June - . LV Family: RSA. Launch Vehicle: RSA.
  • RSA-3 / RSA-4 South African satellite launchers cancelled - . Nation: South Africa. The RSA-3 satellite launcher began development as an IRBM in the 1980's. It was developed with the assistance of Israel. The satellite launcher was found not to be viable commercially and so was cancelled in mid-1994. The Overberg Test Range near Bredasdorp, 200 km east of Cape Town, was used for test flights.

1999 February 23 - . 10:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D267.
  • Sunsat - . Nation: South Africa. Agency: Boeing. Manufacturer: Stellenbosch. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Sunsat. USAF Sat Cat: 25636 . COSPAR: 1999-008C. Apogee: 852 km (529 mi). Perigee: 641 km (398 mi). Inclination: 96.5000 deg. Period: 99.80 min. Summary: Sunsat was built by students at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and carried a small imager and a message relay payload..

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