Windhoek-After two years of consultation with the Airbus Defence and Space company, the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), finally signed a Letter of Intent with the Airbus Defence and Space organisation (ADS) on Thursday last week.
The key projects under the Letter of Intent include a Virtual Space Data Centre and collaboration on developing academic postgraduate programmes in various fields of aerospace technology, such as satellite ground element technology, space technology, aerospace dynamics, research and industry.
“For the current year, NUST has adopted the theme, ‘Re-imagining University Engagement’ which commits us to reconceptualise the way we engage our stakeholders and the international community.
“It is indeed these interactions and collaborations with leading international universities and companies that bring value and relevance to the academic programmes and services we provide and the research we conduct.
“With ADS, this new partnership will boost our capacity to improve and broaden our engagement with partner institutions and other international partners, and thereby add value to society,” Vice-Chancellor of NUST Dr Tjama Tjivikua said at the signing ceremony.
Tjivikua explained that the Virtual Space Data Centre would allow Namibia access through a virtual port that can task Airbus to deploy satellites to collect relevant archives for Namibia. This data will be made available to government ministries and various entities.
The centre is expected to 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.
Close collaboration with Airbus will also facilitate the establishment of joint research projects and academic programmes, and will foster exchange programmes for faculty and students with Airbus in near future.
Tjivikua noted that Air Namibia boasts a fleet of 10 aircrafts out of which six belong to the Airbus family, meaning that the partnership will support the country’s aviation industry, and bring tangible benefits for Namibia.
“NUST is looking for guidance in developing an Airbus maintenance training programme in Namibia. It is hoped that the Letter of Intent will lead to a formal agreement of collaboration. This will facilitate that both parties work towards mutually beneficial academic and research programmes, and foster exchange programmes for academic staff and students with Airbus in the near future. This collaborative network is critical for the development of human capacity in aerospace technology in Namibia,” Tjivikua said.
The Ambassadors of France and Germany respectively, Jacqueline Bassa-Mazzoni and Christian Matthias Schlaga attended the signing ceremony, as well as Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space Dr Jean-Marc Nasr and his delegation.
ADS is a global leader in engineering and technology and is the world’s second largest space company after Boeing and one of the top ten defence companies in the world, with a presence in 35 countries and 40 000 employees from 86 nationalities.
“I also hope that the nexus that exists between government, the community, Airbus and NUST will be exploited to push the boundaries of technology in Namibia and the world at large. NUST is looking forward to a productive partnership with Airbus Defence and Space, and will continue to rely on the multitude of partnerships to bring true value to society,” Tjivikua added.