All hands on the new Earth observation satellite

SANSA teamwork for pioneering the next South African Earth observation satellite satellite

SANSA is gearing up to build South Africa's first major Earth observation satellite, with support from local industry and specialists at all SANSA directorates.

A mini-satellite (previously known as ZA-ARMC1) is being designed for low-earth orbit at 700km above the Earth. It will be dedicated to earth observation (EO) with applications, including vegetation monitoring, following extensive user consultation with government, universities and industry users by the SANSA Earth Observation team.

Design and planning for the satellite builds on South African expertise developed through the successful launch and operation of previous satellite missions including SunSAT, Sumbandila and TshepisoSAT (formerly ZA-CUBE1).

In addition to its core earth observation mission, the satellite is being used to develop South Africa's space engineering, science and technology skills, with a sizable portion of the budget dedicated to human capital development.

All SANSA directorates are playing a significant role in its development and operation, and are working closely with SA industry.

This satellite will be a flagship science and technology achievement for SA and a source of national pride as it marks SA's entry into the major league of space. (PULL QUOTE)

SANSA's Space Operations (Space Ops) team brings mission control experience and is advising on ground segment requirements. Space Ops will also support the satellite's launch, projected for 2018.

SANSA Space Science in Hermanus is looking for capacity on-board the satellite to host a science mission, and is guiding education, training and bursary programmes around the satellite's development. The SANSA Earth Observation team in Pretoria are defining the primary mission.

The ambitious new satellite will be assembled in the Western Cape over four to five years. With its high-resolution earth observation images and data, it will impact on every government department and every South African.


Welcome message from SANSA CEO Dr Sandile Malinga

It's been a little more than three years since South Africa's first space agency was formed. SANSA builds on decades of great work by many South African scientists and institutions, with fresh skills and new structures to compliment the old.

We are privileged to work in a sector which is so rich in science, research, technology and engineering - and which has such a huge impact. Our staff and peers are incredibly proud of what we do. We have the opportunity to develop the technology and services of the future, and to solve some of humanity's great challenges.

Looking ahead, the SANSA team strives to make a more meaningful impact on business, government and the lives of all South Africans. We will, in coming years, be helping to deliver vital services in communication, water, navigation, power distribution, security, environmental monitoring and farming. This is how we will demonstrate the role of space across society and our economy, and make every South African proud of what SANSA has to offer.

The four SANSA directorates all have exciting projects to tackle in the year ahead. Our Earth Observation (EO) team has done great work on the development of EO-SAT1, South Africa's first major earth observation satellite. Every single person at SANSA will be involved in this project, from scientists and engineers to switchboard, technicians, cleaners and accountants. The Space Engineering team will now define the technical requirements for this ambitious project.

SANSA launched the new FUNDISA product for learners in Grade 10 and above, and is also preparing to introduce new products for vegetation and land mapping. Read about SANSA's involvement in disaster management and human settlements on pages XXX and XXX.

The Space Science team have been busy with the installation of the new high-frequency radar in Antarctica under very difficult conditions. This enables us to continue to perform cutting-edge scientific research in space weather. The fourth directorate, Space Operations, supports international space missions to both the Moon and Mars, and has recently upgraded their Ka-band antenna, putting SANSA in a uniquely competitive position (read more on page XX).

You will find there are many things that you did not know that your space agency does and can do, and we hope this newsletter will get you as excited about South Africa's future in the space industry as we are.



GLAC 2014: SANSA CEO's Address

GLAC 2014 is bringing together the global satellite-based services community, including senior representatives of the major space agencies, industry, academia and NGOs. These leaders in their respective fields will converge in Paris to present results, exchange ideas, debate roadmaps, and discuss the future opportunities provided by satellite-based applications. For more info

It is a great pleasure and an honour for me to have been invited to be part of the opening plenary of the Global Space Applications Conference.

I would like to thank IAF and UNESCO for arranging this important and relevant conference that will deliberate on the use of space applications in addressing humanity's challenges.

Today I would like talk about 'The irony of humanity's success and the potential contribution of space applications in adressing the associated challenges.'

Humanity has made great strides in many areas.

To understand this, we need to pause for a moment and think about how this morning would have looked like 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or a few centuries back.

Many of the things we take as standard today would not even have been dreamed of.

We would not have a gadget on our person in the form of a mobile phone, with the processing power, that supersedes that of a yesteryear computer which often occupied a sizable room.

We would still be relying of primitive implements for agriculturesuch as sickles. Today we have extensively mechanised agriculture and are using sophisticated farming methods, sophisticated irrigation techniques, genetically modified seeds, etc.

As a result, in the last 50 years global crop production has increased threefold. This has largely been as a result of two reasons. Firstly, higher yields per unit of land. Secondly, crop intensification from multiple cropping and/or the shortening of fallow periods. Today we are growing in excess of 2 billion tons of grain per year.

Calling young scientists


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GEO Ministerial Summit

Minister's Introductory Remarks

Allow me first to thank the government of Switzerland for hosting this important event, not only in the calendar of GEO but also for the sustainability of life on this precious planet of ours.

Honourable members of this distinguished community, ladies and gentlemen, there is abundant evidence that humankind has made a severe impact on the planet upon which sustainable human life depends.

The anthropogenic impact and changes to natural environment are being driven by increasing human demands such as, the need for provision of water, food, energy and shelter at the time when more than seven billion people on inhabit the Earth.

Unfortunately, these human activities impact on biophysical environments, hydrology, biodiversity, climate, socioeconomic stability and food security. The well being of the natural environment which is one of the major factors that contribute to sustainability is therefore becoming severely compromised.

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) offers a unique platform for timely observation, analyses, dissemination and access to comprehensive and appropriate Earth observation data that can be operationally utilised in decision making, planning, guiding policy formulation, and monitoring systems for all nations.

Therefore, we all need to be empowered to generate, and utilise Earth observation data to generate knowledge and smart systems for informed policy formulation and decision making.

Building on the past successes

Back in 2005, this community endorsed the 10-Year Implementation Plan for building a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a decision that represented an essential step forward for the realisation of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) objectives.

Importantly for GEO, the Earth observation community (both member states and participating organisations) have taken lead and made significant contributions on ensuring full and open access to Earth observation data.

The announcement at the 2007 Cape Town Ministerial that China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite (CBERS) data will be provided free of charge was particularly a dramatic step towards achieving the strategic goals of GEO.

These significant developments prompted the establishment of a process with the objective to reach a consensus on the implementation of the Data Sharing Principles for GEOSS. In November 2010, the GEOSS Data Sharing Action Plan was accepted by the GEO-VII Plenary and incorporated into the Beijing Declaration and adopted by the Beijing Ministerial Summit. This milestone demonstrated how the framework of GEO could advance solutions to global challenges.

Being a member of GEO, South Africa, has made major strides in the development and implementation of the South African Earth Observation Strategy (SAEOS), which is aimed at promoting an integrated Earth observation system. The strategy, approved in October 2006 and launched during the margins of the GEO IV Plenary in Cape Town, captures the country's response to the 10-year Implementation Plan for a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The SAEOS Earth Observation Data Centre and the web-based Portal have been developed and are

currently being operationalised and institutionalised. The Portal is integrated to the GCI and contributed resources to the GEOSS Data-CORE.

South Africa – through National Earth Observation and Space Secretariat (NEOSS), has also played a significant support role in launching AfriGEOSS and promoting the initiative within GEO. Further, South Africa is involved in (and will continue to be involved in) initiatives such as the African Working Group on Land Cover Mapping, GEO Global Agriculture Monitoring (GEOGLAM), Blue Planet, GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (GEOBON), African Water Cycle Initiative and GEO Common Infrastructure (GCI). In all these initiatives South Africa has both contributed and benefited from its participation.

The future

Keeping up the momentum gained on data sharing thus far is critical. The GEO community will need to build on the Cape Town and Beijing breakthroughs and advances. We urge the entire GEO community to embrace this spirit and advance the principles of data sharing, full and open access of critical Earth observation and fundamental datasets.

GEO would however be required to go beyond just open access of data. GEO would be required to pay more focus on deriving value, generating knowledge and developing innovative solutions from these datasets for the benefit of mankind and improving our understanding of the Earth systems.

It must be acknowledged that the long term sustainability of GEOSS depend on the member states and participating organisations. More effort and emphasis should be put in strengthening and promoting National GEO and regional coordination mechanisms. The full endorsement of AfriGEOSS initiative by the GEO-IX Plenary in 2012 is the step in the right direction. This initiative will ensure that the African continent actively participate and contribute to the GEO vision. The regional coordination will also ensure that certain aspects of GEOSS are built or tailored to respond to the technological challenges faced by the developing nations. The

regions should make efforts to develop collaborative capabilities to implement system of systems solutions pertinent to their challenges.

Furthermore, significant progress made by the GEO community in implementing the global initiatives and programmes such as GEO Global Agriculture Monitoring (GEOGLAM), Global Forest Observation Initiative (GFOI), Global Land Cover, Advanced Fire Information System, Global Biodiversity Observation Network (GEOBON), GEONETCast among others will ensure that GEO's primary objectives are accomplished.

It is therefore critical that we think about GEO beyond its current mandate and consider its renewal for the next ten years. We need to build on the strong foundation laid so far and make sure that the gains made are consolidated while we work to elevate GEO to its rightful place of influence. GEO occupies a unique position which is demonstrated by its achievements in a short space of time.

The GEO community must be commended for the sterling job done thus far (in implementing GEO vision and GEOSS).

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