South African space infrastructure company SCS Space is showcasing its SCS-Agrisense project at the 2023 Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week and Ministerial Summit in Cape Town. The project aims to assist African countries in developing their own sustainable space programs, with a focus on the agricultural sector.
Dr. Sias Mostert, CEO of SCS Space, points out the lack of access to high-resolution satellite data for African scientists, particularly in terms of spatial and temporal resolution. Currently, publicly available data has a spatial resolution of 10 meters, with overpasses occurring every five days. However, during the growing season, regular overpasses are necessary for agriculture.
To address this, the Agrisense project plans to deploy a constellation of 24 to 40 nanosatellites based on the company’s nSight 6U satellite design. These nanosatellites, with dimensions of 30 cm x 20 cm x 10 cm, would provide a spatial resolution of 5 meters and overpasses every three to five days. The nSight 6U satellite design also incorporates a seven-band multispectral imager with a 20 km swath coverage.
Mostert emphasizes that the Agrisense system offers affordable access to data and collaboration opportunities for both African and international space agencies. He explains that space infrastructure includes not only satellites and ground segments but also data processing and engagement with end-users such as governments and commercial enterprises.
GEO Week is of great significance to SCS Space as it brings together a large gathering of government users of geospatial information. The company’s space infrastructure plays a vital role in generating data for governments and commercial users.