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10 July 2018 Photo Supplied
USSA hockey – lots to play for
Shindré-Lee Simmons, one of the veterans in the Kovsie women’s hockey team for this year’s national student championship.


The Kovsie men’s and women’s hockey teams have positive expectations for the University Sport South Africa (USSA) national student tournament.

The USSA championships were hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) from 2 to 6 July 2018. This year’s championships will have 45 competing teams and will thus be the biggest ever USSA hockey tournament.

For the female squad to qualify for the 2019 Varsity Sports tournament, they have to secure a spot among the top-seven teams. In order to get back into the A section, the Kovsie men’s team must win their tournament. 

The matches are scheduled to take place on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus astro fields.

The UFS women’s team, captained by Antonet Louw, is set to play on Monday at 15:35 against Nelson Mandela University (NMU); on Tuesday at 17:00 against the University of Johannesburg (UJ); and on Wednesday at 18:25 against North-West University (NWU). The play-off matches will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The men’s team, with Cheslyn Neethling as captain, will play on Monday at 17:00 against the Central University of Technology; on Tuesday at 15:35 against the Tswane University of Technology; on Wednesday at 17:00 against the Vaal University of Technology; on Thursday at 18:25 against the University of KwaZulu-Natal; and on Friday at 15:35 against Rhodes University.

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NASA Deep Space Navigation engineer presents at Naval Hill Planetarium
2017-03-30

Description: NASA Deep Space Navigation engineer  Tags: NASA Deep Space Navigation engineer

From the left: Chris du Plessis; US Consulate, Johannesburg,
Prof Petrus Meintjes; Dept of Physics UFS, Christopher Jacobs;
NASA, and Anthony Deaton; US Consulate Johannesburg.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

The University of the Free State (UFS) hosted NASA Deep Space engineer Christopher Jacobs on 27 March 2017 at the Bloemfontein Campus. The engagement was hosted by Prof Matie Hoffman of the Department of Physics and the Department of Institutional Advancement, in collaboration with the US Consulate General in Johannesburg.

Jacobs is stationed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology and has served as the Reference Frame Calibration task manager for 25 years. In this role he has been responsible for delivering the reference frames used to navigate NASA missions such as the Mars Science Laboratory to planetary targets.

His visit to the UFS included a presentation to the Department of Astrophysics at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and at the Naval Hill Planetarium in Bloemfontein where he spoke on Stellar GPS: Navigating the Solar System. He also spoke about the latest research and developments at NASA in Astrometry. The visit will establish and develop shared interests and possible collaboration with UFS and other institutions of interest in the country. “South Africa, because of its well-placed geographic location in the southern hemisphere, holds a lot of answers to astronomy,” Jacobs said.

He has an active interest in professional and public education, and outreach, having given public lectures around the world. “Astronomy brings people together and is a point of common interest that is key in solving environmental and geographical challenges such as climate change, therefore global cooperation is important,” he said.

Prof Hoffman welcomed the initiative by the US Consulate and the possible outcomes of joint efforts to position the UFS as a key partner in South Africa on NASA’s astronomy projects. In the coming weeks Jacobs will speak at high schools in Gauteng including the Mae Jemison US Science Reading Room in Mamelodi, Pretoria, a centre that is focused on promoting science education.

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