Research Perspectives

For a full project proposal, please refer to the White Paper, draft 3


The different space geodesy techniques need to meet requirements of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) (http://www.ggos.org/) project of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) and the science driven geodetic objectives as set out by the NASA Solid Earth Science Working Group Report. All the space geodetic techniques face major challenges; the global networks need to be re-equipped and its geometric distribution improved.


We are currently evaluating Matjiesfontein as a possible site for a new space geodesy observatory, as Matjiesfontein meets requirements of clear skies, power, water, and accessibility. This site should eventually house a facility which will be a new Fundamental Station for South Africa, hosting all the main Space Geodesy techniques (VLBI, SLR/LLR, GPS DORIS) as well as complimentary scientific equipment. All these techniques are globally managed and steered by the IAG services (IVS, ILRS, IGS, IDS, IERS) and will operate within the framework of GGOS, which forms an important component of the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS). The different space geodetic techniques have unique and overlapping properties. GPS is suitable for densification of the reference frames and dense scientific networks, SLR/LLR allows accurate determination of Earth scale, VLBI uniquely determines Earth orientation parameters in an inertial reference frame and DORIS provides continuous orbit determination. All of these techniques are accurate enough to provide station velocities and all of have unique scientific products. When combined, the benefits exceed the sum of the individual contributions; this leads to a strong interdependency between the techniques to support the large number of different uses and applications of the data and its consequent products.


Objectives of the new Outstation can be divided into four main categories:  

  • The establishment, maintenance and operation of instrumentation and infrastructure to support its vision and mission.

  • Research and publication of research results.

  • Capacity building in the SADC region through regional (SADC) and international collaboration.

  • Capacity building through close links and interaction with tertiary educational institutions