From left: HE Christian Schlaga: German Ambassador; HE Concepción Figuerola Sanchez: Spanish Ambassador; Dr Jean Marc-Nasr, Head: Airbus Defence and Space for Africa, Middle East, France and the UK; Dr Tjama Tjivikua, Vice-Chancellor: NUST; and HE Jacqueline Bassa-Mazzoni pictured after the Signing Ceremony.

NUST and Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) have agreed to collaborate in establishing a Virtual Space Data Centre in Windhoek to assist Namibia in monitoring and growing key elements of the economy. This was announced during the occasion of the Signing of the Letter of Intent between the two parties.

The Namibian government has delegated NUST to host the Institute for Space Technology and mandated it to implement the Virtual Space Data Centre, as part of its strategic plan for developing the country’s aerospace, geo-information, earth observation and spatial science capabilities.

Dr Tjama Tjivikua, the NUST Vice-Chancellor, highlighted the University’s dedication to discovering the needs and niches in Namibia, and to find long-term solutions that bring about sustainable development.

“The Centre will find wide applications in Namibia in the fields of aviation, maritime and land transportation, urbanisation, mapping and surveying, human health, disaster management, food security and sustainable agriculture, environmental monitoring and natural resources management. The data will be made available to government ministries and various entities,” said Tjivikua.

Dr Jean-Marc Nasr, the Head of Airbus Defence and Space for Africa, Middle East, France and the UK is equally optimistic about the collaboration. “Namibia is a key market for Airbus in Sub-Saharan Africa and we see this initial project as the starting point for a broader relationship with our partners at NUST and the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, which will include other aerospace themes,” explained Nasr.

Furthermore, through this partnership, both parties intend to collaborate on developing academic postgraduate programmes in various fields of Aerospace Technology, e.g. Satellite Ground Element Technology, Space Technology, Aerospace Dynamics research and industry, and thereby push the boundaries of technology in Namibia. Through the collaboration, NUST will link to the Airbus Academy and French universities.