Reliable satellite data for essential African services

April 4th, 2016, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: EngineerIT

Africa can now rely on the services of a satellite constellation tailored for the continent to provide reliable data for a wide range of essential human activities and the protection of the environment. The constellation which combines the services of ten satellites with the capability of covering any part of the continent at least once a day has been introduced by the Space Commercial Services Aerospace Group (SCSAG).

Images taken over time clearly show the change in leaf coverage. The greener the more dense the leaf coverage.

Images taken over time clearly show the change in leaf coverage. The greener the more dense the leaf coverage.

The SCSGi African Satellite Constellation combines the capacity the Chinese TripleSat Constellation, RadarSat-2, Deimos 1 & 2; KazEOSat 1 & 2; Landsat 8, MODIS and the Urthecast cameras IRIS, Theis and HRC-DM on the International Space Station.  These satellites can be tasked to collect near real-time data on a 24/7-basis globally to deliver timely, reliable information services.

“Satellite technology is set to become an indispensable component of smart governance and economic development in Africa to ensure growth and prosperity for all the peoples of the continent,” said Dr. Sias Mostert, CEO of SCSAG. Government agencies and private companies can now rely on reliable, dependable, real-time high-quality data obtained through satellite imagery to support a wide range of services such as crop assessments, forestry management and deforestation, environmental protection, fire warnings, insurance risk assessments, address validation, infrastructure monitoring, urban and rural development, population counts,  border control and maritime security. We are now in the position to provide monitoring and management services anywhere in Africa at least once a day with a minimum turn-around time of 30 seconds to six hours and a resolution down to 0,5 m.  Some types of services can be provided regardless of cloud cover or time of night or day.”

This service will be provided by SCS Global Information (SCSGi) which is a subsidiary of the SCS Aerospace Group headquartered in Cape Town.

The satellite pictures taken over an interval of time clearly show the changes. The greener area show more leaf coverage while the lighter areas indicate less leaf coverage.

The satellites are in in different orbits which increases the number of options per days. However if an image is required to be taken over a period from time at  same angle it has to be carefully planned. In the case of TrippleSat is will only be able to take an image at the same angle every six days. Preplanning is required to ensure that a particular instrument on the most suitable satellite is available to meet the requirements. The norm of an image request is between two and three weeks but can be longer due to uncontrollable factors such as cloud coverage. In the case of a natural disaster  and other emergencies images can be available within hours.

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