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It was a bit of a gloomy day with a chance of rain, but that didn’t dampen the spirts for the big Opening day of the new state-of-the-art Space Weather Centre for SANSA (South African Space Agency) in Hermanus. Guests, dignitaries, and media personal from all over the world arrived with shuttle services to the SANSA campus to start the day’s proceedings.

Image Left: Heidi McAllister (Design & Project Architect from AVNA Architects) in front of the new SPACE WEATHER CENTRE

Image Right: The project Team with the Mayors of the Overstrand Municipality

Everyone was welcomed by the music of a local Marimba band while teas & coffees were served to the visitors. This was an opportunity to mingle and meet other neighboring Space Agency’s & partners. The likes of NASA, the UK Space Agency and sister African space agencies where all present to celebrate the launch of this new facility.

Shortly after the Minster, Dr Nzimande’s arrival the proceedings began, with speeches from the heads of Governmental departments and its officials.

Dr Lee-Anne McKinnel (Managing Director of the SANSA Hermanus campus and the project lead) welcomed everyone and stated that this is a momentous occasion for Hermanus, but also for South Africa and the African continent.

Minister Dr Blade Nzimande (Minister of the Department of Higher Education & Training, Science & Innovation) was thrilled that after turning the sod 2 years prior, that he comes back to SANSA Hermanus and there is a new building standing, which was also completed on time and within budget.

Image: Minister Dr Blade Nzimande addressing the delegates

Annelie Rabie, the Mayor of Hermanus and the Overstrand municipality was extremely proud that Hermanus was chosen to host this 24-hour facility, that will have a worldwide impact on monitoring Space Weather (being 1 of 5 space weather stations in the world). She was also impressed that the project drivers were all women and that leading female space scientists are going to be running the facility.

Image: Heidi McAllister meeting the Overstrand Mayor and Deputy Mayor Left: Deputy Mayor Lindile Ntsabo / Mayor Annelie Rabie & Heidi McAllister (Design & Project Architect from AVNA Architects)

After all the speeches and SABC news interviews were completed, it was now time for the ribbon cutting ceremony. With big cheers and “the call” from the local Hermanus Whale Caller (who blows sounds of whales through a horned pipe) the ribbon was cut, and the new building was officially opened.

Images: The Minister, Delegates & Overstrand Mayors cut the Ribbon to open the new facility

The minister, delegates and visitors then enjoyed a tour of the building and new facilities, which is now operating 24 hours a day, monitoring the sun and its effect on the earth’s magnetic fields.

Image Left: The Foyer space with all the media presence

Image Right: The new Control Room for the facility – where the Space Weather Scientists monitor and collect the data

Image: The Project Team Left to Right: Keenan Janneker – SANSA Project Lead / Dean Harris - Edge2Edge contractors / Chris Denny – Edge2Edge contractors / Heidi McAllister – Design & Project Architect from AVNA Architects / Wesley Dingley – Edge2Edge contractors / Gideon Schoonraad – Principle Agent from Schoonraad Architects / Francois Nortje – Director of AVNA Architects


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