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All the latest news on AARSE and remote sensing.
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  • 12 Sep 2017 12:50 PM | Administrator (Administrator)


    Source: http://www.spacedaily.com


    A record-shattering NASA astronaut touched down to Earth on Sunday, finishing a 288-day mission that put her over the top as the American who has spent the most cumulative amount of time in space.


    Peggy Whitson, 57, is also the oldest female astronaut in the history of space exploration, was the first female International Space Station commander, and holds the record for number of spacewalks (10) by a woman.Read more...


  • 12 Sep 2017 12:41 PM | Administrator (Administrator)


    Source: http://www.satnews.com


    As Hurricane Irma churned through the Caribbean and up Florida’s coast, DigitalGlobe’s satellites have been capturing high-resolution images of the storm’s damage.



    Imaging in the Caribbean became possible over the weekend as the clouds moved out of the area. The before-and-after imagery below was captured between Friday, September 8 and 11 of several places in the Caribbean: Tortola, Turks and Caicos, Sint Maarten, Necker Island, Barbuda and Saint Martin.



    The “after” images were taken by DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3, WorldView-2 and GeoEye-1 satellites, with the dates included in the file names. Once the weather moves further out of the area, DigitalGlobe will be offering more images for viewing. Read more... 


  • 14 Aug 2017 1:23 PM | Administrator (Administrator)





    20-24 November 2017 , United Nations Conference Center(UNCC), Addis Ababa


    Registration Is Now Open


    Paper abstracts must be submitted by September 30th 

     Registration,Sponsor and Exhibitor information can be found on:


    AfricaGIS 2017


    Other inquiries should be emailed to info@africagis2017.org



  • 18 Jul 2017 8:58 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    SA delegates at the BRICS meeting in China


    The South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), the State Space Corporation "Roscosmos" (ROSCOSMOS), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) have today formally joined forces to create the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation.


    A Joint Committee Meeting was held in Haikou, China, on 3 July 2017 to review and deliberate on the progress of the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation and to discuss a Draft Agreement to be signed later this year. It was stressed that the BRICS Satellite Constellation is the first substantive project in the field of space cooperation.


    There are two Phases proposed for the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation, namely, Phase 1 comprising of a virtual constellation of existing satellites, and Phase 2 to comprise of a new satellite constellation to be discussed and defined in the near future.


    The intention of the virtual constellation is to establish the remote sensing data sharing mechanism and avail to the partners, space solutions that meet the challenges faced by humanity, such as global climate change, major natural and technological disasters and environmental protection.


    "We remain committed to ensuring the integration of African space-based knowledge and technology in improving the lives of fellow Africans and welcome such esteemed partners in achieving this important objective.' said Dr Valanathan Munsami, SANSA CEO at the meeting.


    There is a consensus that the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Virtual Constellation is a practical step towards high-tech cooperation between these countries that will assist in attaining the sustainable development goals and challenges pertaining to our respective economies and societies. This will also inject new vitality into the strategic partnership among BRICS States.


  • 18 Jul 2017 8:42 AM | Administrator (Administrator)



    GSAT19 was launched on GSLV MKIII payload by ISRO. GSAT19 is being termed as the ‘Game Changer’ Satellite by ISRO. What makes GSAT-19 A Game Changer Satellite? We spoke exclusively to the Director of Space Application Center [SAC] to find out more details.

    • How will it help us get rid of call drops
    • How will it help us get better internet connectivity
    • How it will help India connect the remotest part
    • Know all about GSAT-19

    Q. You talked about the satellite that it’s a game changer. In what way is it a game changer?

    Ans- Today you have a mobile there. Cells are there. If the cell is big then the number of the population becomes big… but the central antenna, which is transmitting, has the same capability. So if the cell is big then per capita data rate is less. That’s the reason why we have call drops. Cells, which were built 15 years ago with a certain population density. They are not able to sustain coz population has increased, the number of users has increased and per capita, data rate has reduced. And since an operator cannot manage that, he stops your calls. Imagine that if I focus on a narrow area then per capita data rate increases. And it is exactly like the cellular architecture, but all the central antenna of the cells is shifted to satellite. GSAT-11 will be launched in the beginning of next year. Prior to those lots of ground, technologies have to experiment… it’s a KA band now. The future is in KA band…but the user is comfortable with KU Band. We put user terminals in KU band and the half in KA bands. Covering the 60% of India, covering almost all major minor cities.

    Related: NavIC can find frequency error independently; more accurate than GPS, other systems

    GSAT-20, which will be flying at the end of next year. It will be KA cross KA. We have to graduate the user from transponder to selective data rate requirement. All the KA band electronics will be developed in India.
    Visual experience will improve. We will have more data rates for DTH that will improve the visual quality of HD channels.

    Q. Will you also include the Internet in that?

    Yes! For the Internet, we have to go through a via media. Because for the Internet you have to transmit also. In that regard, what we have proposed is that we will have a central receiving station with a large antenna. So that it can support a very large bandwidth. It will distribute the signal horizontally through Wi-Fi. Because today all these smart cities are coming up with Wi-Fi. Through wifi, you can connect even a remote village through Wi-Fi.One may argue that why not lay out fiber cable. But that is for big cities. If you have to connect a remote village of Jharkhand then you need wifi. In future, the cost will come down, as everything will be made in India. It will become backbone coz it is high data rate capable [GSAT-19] at a much cheaper cost using satellite.

    Watch video here.


        By Amit Raj Singh

     

     


  • 16 Jun 2017 9:20 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    La Reunion Island via laser

    Image credit: modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA


    ESA today unveiled the first Sentinel-1 satellite images sent via the European Data Relay System’s world-leading laser technology in high orbit.


    The two images were taken by the radar on the Copernicus Sentinel-1A over La Reunion Island and its coastal area. The first was scanned in a high-resolution mode, the second in a wide-swath mode that provides broad coverage of surrounding waters, and used in particular for maritime surveillance.


    Sentinel-1A, sweeping around the globe at 28 000 km/h, transmitted the images to the EDRS-A node in geostationary orbit via a laser beam at 600 Mbit/s. The laser terminal is capable of working at 1.8 Gbit/s, allowing EDRS to relay up to 50 TB a day. EDRS immediately beamed the data down to Europe.

     

    The transfer between the two satellites was fully automated: EDRS connected to Sentinel from more than 35 000 km away, locking on to the laser terminal and holding that link until transmission was completed. 


    The German Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, tasked by the Mission Operating Center of Airbus Defence and Space in Ottobrunn, received the raw Sentinel-1A data at its station in Weilheim, Germany. They were then passed to the ESA-managed Sentinel-1 ground segment, where they were processed to generate the final products.


    EDRS will dramatically improve access to more urgent and potentially life-saving coverage from space than ever before.


    Satellites like the Sentinels can help to survey areas struck by natural disasters. When the situation on the ground is changing rapidly, hours-old satellite information is of little use to rescue teams. EDRS will allow access to time-critical data acquired around the world. 


    EDRS will help in disaster relief as well as for operational monitoring services like maritime surveillance by relaying the data as quickly as possible to Europe, thanks to its network of ground stations like the one in Oberpfaffenhofen.


    La Reunion Island via laser


    Magali Vaissiere, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said at the Berlin Airshow today, “With today’s first link, EDRS is close to becoming operational, providing services to the Copernicus Sentinel Satellites for the European Commission.


    “EDRS is the world’s first laser relay service and features technologies developed by European industry.”


    Volker Liebig, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes, stated: “The Sentinels are the anchor customer of the new commercial EDRS service and the Copernicus system wins new downlink flexibility. So we have a real win-win situation."


    “SpaceDataHighway is no longer science fiction,” noted Evert Dudok of Airbus Defence and Space. “It will revolutionise satellite communications, and help to keep Europe’s space industry at the forefront of technology and innovative services.”

    For Sentinel-1, EDRS adds flexibility, increasing the availability of products to users. It will also allow fast downlink of data acquired outside of Europe, helping services requiring products in real time, as well as in emergency and crisis situations.


    The Space Data Highway is a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space. The DLR German Aerospace Center funded the development of the cutting-edge laser technology that forms the backbone of the system.


    The first node, EDRS-A, was launched on 29 January 2016 as a hosted payload on the Eutelsat-9B satellite. The second, the dedicated EDRS-C satellite, will be launched in 2017.


    The European Commission’s Copernicus Sentinel satellites are the first users of the EDRS service.


    ESA is planning the GlobeNet programme to extend EDRS by 2020, providing additional security services to satellites, aircraft and drones.


    The laser communication technology used today will be able to bridge up to 75 000 km, sending data from one node over the Asia–Pacific region (EDRS-D) to another over Europe (either EDRS-A or EDRS-C). This global coverage will provide quasi-real time services around the world linking instantaneously back to Europe. 



  • 06 Jun 2016 1:27 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Geomakani 2016 – Geospatial Technologies Conference - was recently held in Cairo, Egypt. The conference was organized by a local company, Edge Pro – for Information Services.


    This year’s conference took place on May the 17th and was held at the Royal Maxim Palace Kiminski in Cairo.


    Geomakani is an excellent platform to increase awareness and exposure for Egypt’s geo-spatial experts representing private companies and organizations; however the majority of the private sector comprised of services providers from the Western World. 400+ participants from eleven countries attended the conference.


    The programme consisted of three plenary sessions that targeted new technologies and societal benefits including:

    • Natural Resources and Infrastructure
    • Defense, Security and Intelligence and Lidar
    • AR and Optical Sensors

     The thematic areas of the conference were Remote Sensing, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), global positioning system (GPS), Photogrammetry, VHR satellite imagery, Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) & Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).


    Four technical workshops were held prior to the conference highlighting technological themes in the geospatial information arena.

    • 3D Geospatial Data Applications and Industries for Decision Making,
    • Ground and Airborne Hyperspectral Systems and Riegl LiDAR Technology,
    • Airports and Airbases, Ports and Bases, and Facilities and Cantonment Areas, and
    • Smart Enterprise GIS Solutions for Utilities


    AARSE was invited to attend the conference and was represented by AARSE’s Vice President for Northern Africa - Dr. Islam Abou El-Magd


    Dr. El-Magd, spoke of the major role AARSE plays on a continental level, to widen the network of the geospatial information community and the aim to open dialogue between professionals and policy makers alike.



  • 06 Jun 2016 11:53 AM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)
    Source: BDLive

    IN SOUTH African waters, beyond the sight of land or any other vessel, a ship’s smoke plume rises into the atmosphere. Its heat signature is written on the surrounding air, and overhead — less than 2,000km away — a tiny satellite is watching it. It is 2019, and the country’s oceans are monitored by a constellation of nanosatellites transmitting live data back to Earth.

    SA’s ocean territory is larger than its land space, and if its claim to extend it is successful, its ocean geography will double.

    This is why the government, as part of Operation Phakisa, is turning to satellites. Operation Phakisa aimed to boost the country’s ocean revenue to R177bn by 2033, from R54bn in 2010, President Jacob Zuma said at the operation’s launch in 2014.

    "Nanosatellites were written into Phakisa’s founding documents," says Robert van Zyl, director of satellite engineering systems at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). CPUT houses the French South African Institute of Technology’s CubeSat programme.

    "(CPUT) have been mandated by the Department of Science and Technology to develop ship-tracking services on a nanosatellite constellation, MDASat."

    Short for marine domain aware satellites, MDASat will be a constellation of nine CubeSats.

    CubeSats, a type of nanosatellite, are a burgeoning area of satellite-manufacturing. They are cube-shaped satellites small enough to fit into a person’s palm.

    At about 10cm, they weigh no more than 1.3kg. Up to six of these cubes can be stacked together with different payloads, such as sensors or cameras, on them.

    They are substantially cheaper than larger satellites, which run into millions of dollars.

    "A CubeSat can be built for about $100,000 and launched for much the same, depending on the complexity of the mission," Van Zyl says. "For this reason, CubeSats were initially used to train students for the aerospace industry, but now these small spacecraft can be used to track and trace aircraft and vessels at sea."

    SA already has one CubeSat in orbit, ZA-Cube1 — otherwise known as TshepisoSAT. This CubeSat, which is still operational, was launched by CPUT in 2013. It has a high-frequency beacon that can beam messages from space.

    ZA-Cube2, however, will be expected to do much more.

    As the precursor to the constellation, it will be fitted with receivers to pick up signals from ships in the ocean, and transmit information back to Earth.

    ...

    BIG vessels are fitted with automatic-identification service (AIS) beacons that transmit tracking and identity information to nearby vessels and authorities.

    "We have to make (the AIS detector) small enough to fit on a CubeSat," Van Zyl says.

    CPUT is teaming up with technology company Three Stone in Somerset West that is responsible for developing the firmware.

    "ZA-Cube2 will also have a powerful (optical) camera on it and a near infrared camera — we want to see if we can distinguish fire or, ideally, the heat plume of a ship," Van Zyl says.

    It will also be able to detect AIS beacons. "That way, if you see a ship with no AIS beacon, (you know that) there might be a problem. This data is important in addressing piracy and illegal fishing."

    The department’s chief director of space science and technology, Humbulani Mudau, says the constellation — expected to be in the sky by 2019 — will initially focus on "all South African terrestrial and maritime territories, including the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf".

    SA’s exclusive economic zone extends about 200 nautical miles from its coastline. This is an area in which SA has the sovereign right to use the ocean’s resources — for energy, mining, or fishing.

    The use of satellites could identify fishing areas, ensure the safety of shipping vessels, and do real-time monitoring of oil spills, Mudau says. Concerns around oil spillages were highlighted in a Department of Environmental Affairs presentation to Parliament in April last year.

    "We are located along a very busy shipping route with harsh ocean conditions," says deputy director-general for oceans and coasts Monde Mayekiso.

    This means the area is vulnerable to oil spill incidents from ships, with more than 20 serious marine pollution incidents reported since 1994.

    Mudau says the constellation would allow for rapid response to problems in SA’s oceans, "which is a critical requirement for law enforcement and first-responder rescue operations".

    The project has been allocated R98m over five years, which will cover the satellites’ manufacture, launch, operations, and commercialisation, Mudau says.

    The government — through the departments of science and technology, and trade and industry — has been pushing satellite manufacturing for more than a decade, but industry has not been kind to the high-technology niche.

    ...

    SATELLITE company SunSpace, established by a group of Stellenbosch University alumni and responsible for democratic SA’s first home-grown satellite, Sumbandila, failed to attract the contracts that would sustain it, and died a protracted death before it was absorbed into state-owned Denel Dynamics in 2013.

    But CubeSats appear to be a low-risk way into satellite manufacturing, with both CPUT and Stellenbosch University developing capacity.

    Herman Steyn was part of SunSpace and now heads Stellenbosch University’s satellite engineering unit.

    "After Sumbandila, there were no funds to do the space project…. In the meantime, I don’t want to do nothing. CubeSats are not expensive," he says.

    "We have good engineers in SA, so I thought, ‘Let’s continue with CubeSats’."

    Stellenbosch University is part of QB50, a European Commission project that will see the construction, launch, and destruction of 50 CubeSats.

    The project aims to increase countries’ access to space.

    Stellenbosch University’s spin-out company, CubeSpace, will be building the control system for these nanosatellites.

    "Up until now, most CubeSats have been uncontrolled, randomly tumbling in orbit. It is difficult to position your antennas to the ground station, your solar panels to the sun, your camera to Earth," Steyn says.

    "There are not many companies — fortunately for us — that supply control systems for CubeSats."

    SA will be contributing one CubeSat, called ZA-AeroSat, to the QB50 mission.

    Steyn’s unit is collaborating with CPUT on the MDASat constellation, by providing the control systems.

    In turn, CPUT will supply Stellenbosch University with transmitter and transceiver modules that will allow its CubeSats to receive and transmit signals.

    Mudau says space technologies have a vital role to play in SA, such as in telecommunications, Earth observation and space sciences.

    And importantly, for a developing country with a high technology skills shortage, they are a relatively cheap way to train postgraduates in space engineering.

    The MDASat project is expected to see 60 masters’ degree graduates trained and ready to enter SA’s small space industry.


    Original article


  • 06 Jun 2016 11:43 AM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: MESA


    “Satellites cannot observe fish directly but can contribute to sustainable fishing by providing continued and global monitoring of the marine environment” said Mr. Prendut Koonjoo, Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands of the Republic of Mauritius. Space-based and in situ Earth Observation data, coupled with other related data, provide information on ocean conditions and fish distribution dynamics in marine and coastal areas. Through the MESA Project, fishermen benefit from this type of technology to get information on the locations of potential fishing spots in five African Indian Ocean nations in the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and fourteen West African countries in the ECOWAS region.

     

    Fish represents 60% of total animal protein consumed in Ghana. More than 200 million Africans eat fish regularly. Fresh, but more often smoked, dried, or even as powder, fish is a source of dietary protein and micronutrients for many communities in Africa. Fish is also an accessible and affordable source of animal protein for many households in Africa. Nutritionally, fish is an important direct source of protein and micronutrients for millions of people in Africa. The Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) Project, through its regional implementing centres for marine thematic actions, Mauritius Oceanography Institute and University of Ghana, is providing improved Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) charts, to Ministries of Fisheries in the IOC and the ECOWAS regions.

     

    Eunice Nuerkie Ofoli-Anum is a National Focal Point for the MESA Project in Ghana. She witnessed that the product and services of the MESA Project “tell us where exactly fish productivity is very high, where we can get more fish and specifically particular kind of fish. It really helped us, Ghanaians. The majority of Ghanaians depend on fish.”


    The MESA Project provides fishing vessel traffic information on fishing effort and activities of fishing vessels within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of countries. This service supports and helps curb widespread illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities in the IOC and ECOWAS regions. “Global losses due to Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) or ‘pirate fishing’ are estimated to be between US$ 10 billion and US $ 23.5 billion per year. West African waters are estimated to have the highest levels of IUU fishing in the world, representing up to 37 percent of the region’s catch” pointed out Madam Sherry Ayittey, the Minister for Fisheries in Ghana. On the 20th of May 2015, BBC also reported that “more than 70 Chinese vessels have been found fishing illegally off the coast of West Africa.”


    The MESA Project is a European Union funded Programme (37 Million €, 2012-2017), implemented with the overall coordination of the African Union Commission and steering by the Regional Economic Communities (CEMAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, IOC and SADC) and the ACP Secretariat, in close cooperation with the European Union Delegation to the African Union and partners such as EUMETSAT and the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC).

     

    The Project is implemented by the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) through their specialised technical institutions including the Botswana Department of Meteorological Services and SADC Climate Services Centre for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region, the International Commission for Congo-Oubangui-Sangha Basin (CICOS) for Central Africa, the AGRHYMET Regional Centre for the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) for the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), University of Ghana for the ECOWAS, and the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) provides climate services for disaster risk reduction for the African continent.

     

    Original article

  • 06 Jun 2016 11:37 AM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: Via Satellite


    South Africa-based Space Commercial Services Aerospace Group (SCS AG) has acquired the imagery distribution rights for sub-Saharan Africa from UrtheCast. Under the agreement SCS AG provides imagery products from UrtheCast’s two cameras on board the International Space Station (ISS) as well as its two Deimos satellites.

     

    UrtheCast takes high-resolution satellite images and video footage, which are applicable for private sector and government projects. Space Commercial Services Global Information (SCSGi), a subsidiary of SCS AG specialized in imagery and geospatial information solutions, will be the master distributor for the African continent imagery.

     

    “We are looking forward to utilizing the data to support a wide range of applications such as crop assessments, forestry management, environmental protection, insurance risk assessments, infrastructure monitoring, urban and rural development, border control and maritime security. Our image rights acquisition from UrtheCast has increased our capacity to provide customers with value-added information services to the point of decision-making,” said Retief Gerber, CEO of SCSGi.


    Original article

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