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Thursday, April 14, 2011

South Africa issues SumbandilaSat Postage Stamps

To mark the launch of South Africa's second locally-built micro-satellite, SumbandilaSat, the South African Post Office has issued a set of five stamps and a commemorative cover on 1 April 2011.

Launching the stamps at the South African National Space Agency's facility at Hartebeesthoek in the Northwest Province, Post Office Chairperson Vuyo Mahlati said the stamps can be used to send any standard-rate envelope to an address in South Africa. The stamps cost R2,50 each.

The layout of the stamps uses photographs from the South African National Space Agency and the University of Stellenbosch. They reflect the topics 'development', 'launch' and 'tracking'.

A total of 100 000 sheets of the stamps, with 10 stamps per sheet, have been printed. There will be no reprint.

Sumbandila Satellite was launched into space on the evening of Thursday, 17 September 2009 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The naming of the satellite was the result of a competition held among high school learners. Entries were received in various languages, but "Sumbandila", a Venda language entry, was ultimately chosen. The name means showing the way and freely translates into English as "pathfinder".

Sumbandila is the result of a three-year development programme done by the University of Stellenbosch engineering faculty on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology in 2005.