Mapping out a common vision for earth observation was the purpose of a meeting held on 15 October 2008 at the CSIR Satellite Applications Centre. Some 27 government representatives from 15 departments who collectively form the SPOT 5 stakeholder group spent time with CSIR specialists to discuss the continuation of SPOT 5 for 2009-2012.
Representatives of various government departments with CSIR staff members, dwarfed by the new
12 m X-band antenna
The CSIR Satellite Applications Centre has been receiving SPOT 5
imagery since 2006, allowing its remote sensing scientists to reach
significant milestones on the prime deliverable of the
2,5 m natural
colour seamless mosaic. Benefits to the user community of this product
has been huge, as the mosaic is a useful tool for decision makers on
matters relating to food security, water management, disaster
management, agriculture, housing development, utilities and
infrastructure planning, mine rehabilitation, national safety and
security, and others. Under the licence agreement with Spot Image, this
imagery is distributed free of charge to government and users in
As this agreement ceases in March 2009, the CSIR's engagement with its
user community has been deemed vital in plotting the way forward. The
CSIR has now offered the stakeholder community the opportunity to
continue the Spot 5 programme for a further term, as it believes this
continuation is important for South Africa and its decision makers.
Delegates also had the opportunity to see the installation of the new
7,3 m X-band antenna, which is the latest 'kid on the block' on the
CSIR's Hartebeesthoek satellite farm.
This new X-band antenna supplied by In-snec will be operational by November 2008. The specification on the new antenna is such that its performance will be greater than that of existing equipment on the site. It will be able to operate to lower elevation angles, extending the 'footprint' in which the CSIR can receive image telemetry data. The antenna also comes equipped with two new high data rate demodulators required for the new generation high data rate satellites.
This infrastructure upgrade will allow the CSIR to extend its offering to customers in terms of the sensors available for direct download. Given the increased sensor load, the number of antennas used for direct reception had to be increased to avoid data loss, due to satellite overpass conflicts. The new antenna will be integrated into the existing South African Earth Observation Strategy infrastructure, forming part of the data supply chain from satellite to customer. It is 7,3 m in diameter and stands over 12 m tall.
The event was a good opportunity to demonstrate to the SPOT 5 stakeholders the CSIR's commitment to and investment in earth observation technology.
Enquiries: CSIR Communication