About Sumbandila


Innovation from SunSpace

SumbandilaSat was designed and completed in record time. The project was awarded to SunSpace in conjunction with the University of Stellenbosch by the South African Department of Science and Technology.

The main payload a Multi-spectral imager which has a 6.25m Ground Sampling Distance (GSD) with 6 spectral bands and is supported by an on-board storage of 6 Gigabyte, with a redundant 18 Gigabyte spare.

Sumbandilasat is the first satellite in the SunSpace 2nd generation Small Satellite Technology Product Family. It is suitable for satellites from 80kg to more than 400kg for high performance earth observation, space science and LEO communication payloads.

Experimental payloads

The satellite also includes a number of experimental payloads including:

• SA AMSAT - 2m/70cm amateur radio transponder and digitalker. This payload will find not only use by the amateur radio fraternity but also has a large educational aspect of bringing space science into the class room.


  • Stellenbosch University

• Architectural radiation experiment for commercial off the shelf devices (ARECOTS)

  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • A forced vibrating string experiment
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal

• Very low frequency (VLF) radio experiment


The satellite was designed for the Shtil launch vehicle from a sub-marine. The demanding vibration envelope makes it suitable for launch as a piggyback on PSLV, Ariane 5 or DNEPR

Major benefit for South Africa

For the Department of Science and Technology (DST) the mission of the project was the development and growth of people and institutions, providing satellite data for applications addressing the needs of society and understanding the modalities of a small satellite programme in order to inform the space policy process in South Africa.