SA Space Agency looks to cyberspace for help with real space

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has put out a call on Facebook and Twitter for the country’s citizens to have a say in the drafting of the National Space Programme (NSP).

According to agency’s website, the aim of the NSP is to “make South Africa a leading space player by 2030”. The site also invites South Africans to share their “thoughts on ‘Space Vision 2030’ via the face book [sic] or Twitter”.

Speaking to Business Day, a leading South African newspaper, Arthur Goldstuck of internet research firm World Wide Worx said SANSA’s move was something of a first among South African state agencies. “The Presidency is on Twitter, but not the president, and it does not encourage interaction,” he said.

He added that the decision to use social media was “forward thinking because it shows they are in tune with where people are going”.

It seems that social media is not the only high-tech method SANSA is using to come up with a viable national space programme.

It has also set up a shared working site on which 100 active participants are “contributing and debating the future National Space Programme”.

The agency adds that it will not be restricting itself to social media platforms as it engages with ordinary South Africans and will also conduct face-to-face interviews.

The programme’s social media campaign, has, however, gotten off to a slow start. At the time of writing, it only had 16 likes on Facebook and 11 followers on Twitter.

By contrast, the official account for NASA’s Cassini mission has some 176 018 followers. NASA’s official account meanwhile, has 1 776 554 followers.



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