UKSPACE, SANSA, Airbus DS strengthen their partnership

SANSA welcomes delegation from Airbus Defence and Space

On 12th of October 2015, a delegation from Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) visited The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) Earth Observation (EO) directorate to review and finalize their partnership agreements as part of their ongoing collaborative project.

SANSA and the UK Space Agency (UK-SA) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that allows the two agencies to collaborate on various aspects of space science research and infrastructure projects. Following on this collaboration and through the UK Space Agency’s International Partnerships in Space Programme (IPSP), SANSA and Airbus Defence and Space have joined forces in an IPSP project to develop space-based earth observation solutions for agriculture to benefit South African citizens.

Crop Watch for South Africa (CW4SA) is a newly funded exploratory project in the context of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnerships in Space Programme (IPSP). Its main goal is to demonstrate a set of crop stress assessment tools that use satellites data and agronomical information to optimize the monitoring of field crop areas in both irrigated and dry-land production systems in South Africa. Expected outputs include vegetation moisture content, land surface temperature, evapotranspiration rate over dry-land cropping and/or irrigation fields through experimental sites located in the Free State province, South Africa.

South African farmers and extension services who are currently disadvantaged due to constrained access to near-real-time information on prevailing field crop condition will greatly benefit from the Crop Watch for South African service. This initial project will serve as a pilot study to provide sufficient evidence to build a case for a longer term programme of agricultural and natural resource monitoring and assessment.

Vaneshree Maharaj