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program description of CLTP11

Arno Barnard

Class of CLTP11


Present status: University Lecturer and Researcher
Present position: Senior Lecturer, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Field of specialization: Embedded Computer and Satellite Systems
Research Interests: Small-satellite computing systems, Radiation Effects testing of Space electronics, Acceleration of computing in Embedded systems

Statement of Purpose

Since 1999, when I started my undergraduate capstone project in designing and building a Failsafe Satellite Power System, I have been involved with the South African satellite research at Stellenbosch University. For almost 10 years, our group's research focussed on Micro-satellites, but we moved over to Nano-satellites by 2010. Since 2011 our group has also been involved with UNISEC, primarily via the MIC competitions where our students have performed well over the years.

Due to my own studies, PhD, and other work pressure, my focus drifted from satellite systems design towards ground testing, specifically radiation effects testing, in the years from 2014 to 2020. Within the Nano-satellite community, there are limited options to apply good radiation hardness strategies, mainly due to the much shorter development timelines.

As the South African Space sector grew, and became more self-reliant, the energy for satellite research and training at Universities dwindled, this, combined with the retirement of many experienced academics, motivated us to renew our efforts in Satellite research and training at Stellenbosch University. We would like to become the preferred academic and research partner in Africa when it comes to nano-satellite projects.

Feedback from CLTP11

As part of the renewed purpose, we wanted to get up to date with the current training benchmark for nano-satellites, the CLTP series. I was selected as a participant for CLTP11, which was a great honour. The CLTP11 course was presented at the highest level of quality and professionalism, while still maintaining the space to have fun and enjoy the cultural diverse interactions with fellow attendees and trainers.

The experience was exceptional. I left with renewed insight and enthusiasm for the education of nano-satelite technology to the developing world. Even with many successful satellite companies in our immediate vicinity, the need for satellite engineering training has never been higher in our country. With the CLTP11 experience many new opportunities and ideas are being generated.

Vision for the future

We have almost 30 years of satellite activity history at Stellenbosch, delivering well over 200 post-graduate students in satellite related research, but we need to put in more effort to disseminate that experience to other universities and students throughout South Africa, and Africa. At the same time, many African countries have started up space activities in the last decade, and in partnership with UNISEC we aim to provide training opportunities and collaborate in research on Satellite systems with our fellow developing nations, in Africa and over the world.

Message for future CLTP participants

It is never too late to invest in yourself. If you are passionate about education and satellite systems, I know of no better opportunity than CLTP to upskill yourself and get good hands-on experience in satellite systems and mission design.


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