Pan-African satellite constellation under discussion

September 5th, 2019, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT, Featured: EE Publishers, Featured: PositionIT

Four African countries are planning to launch satellites to survey Africa’s resources, including vegetation, farmland and water. The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will lead the project, called the Africa Resource Management Constellation (ARMC), on behalf of South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria and Kenya, with the ultimate aim of helping to protect these resources.

The idea of the ARMC was revitalised in November 2018 when the space agencies of the four partner countries met in Abuja, Nigeria. Previous plans had stalled in 2013 due to leadership changes in some of the partner countries, but SANSA CEO Dr Val Munsami has made it his priority to revive the ARMC.

In the November 2018 meeting, the four partner country space agencies reverted to the original vision from 2009. By pooling resources together, the agencies will benefit more. With that in mind, a new ARMC kick-off meeting has been called for the heads of the space agencies, to be hosted by SANSA in 2019. Until then, SANSA engineers are building a data portal that will contain the collective knowledge of the four partner agencies.

The meeting will be used conduct a technology road-mapping exercise, which will go further than the constellation itself. For instance, agencies will need to manage satellite systems such as stability and battery power from a ground station, and they will need to download data. The agencies will also have to go over the logistics of processing and storing the data.

Contact SANSA, Tel 012 844-0500, information@sansa.org.za

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