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Overberg Test Range
Overberg Test Range

Credit: Mark Wade. 12,563 bytes. 669 x 313 pixels.

Operator: South Africa. Country: South Africa. Latitude: 34.58 S. Longitude: 20.32 E. Minimum Inclination: 37.0 degrees. Maximum Inclination: 100.0 degrees.

The Overberg Test Range (OTR) was developed by the Houwteq organisation in the 1980's as part of South Africa's ballistic missile and R5b space program. It was located at the southernmost tip of Africa on the south-eastern coast of the Western Cape at Latitude 34 deg 35 min S and Longitude 20 deg 19 min E. The facility had a total area of 43,000 hectares. The launch sites were located on the coast just north-east of Waenhuiskrans, while the launch vehicle and payload assembly facilities were located at an adjacent air base. This 600 ha site included a dual-runway airfield capable of landing 747-sized jets and the infrastructure necessary to test and assemble launch vehicles.

RSA-3 - launch photoRSA-3 - launch photo

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The OTR site also included tracking stations, thermal vacuum chambers for equipment testing, insulated hangars for rocket firing tests, computer facilities, and the necessary equipment for integration of low orbit satellite launches. Cape Town, one of the major cities in South Africa, was located 200 km from OTR and provided a commercial airport capable of handling large airliners. A good quality highway ran between Cape Town and OTR. The Overberg facility was capable of supporting up to 10 launches a year.

Houwteq's complement at Overberg peaked at 500 in the early 1990s. The military program was cancelled in 1992, followed by the space program a year later. By 1997 the staff was down to 28.

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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .