South Africa and Russia have signed an agreement to collaborate on earth observation and on other areas of space science and technology.
The deal allows South Africa to access historic Russian satellite data collected over southern Africa.
Sandile Malinga, the acting Chief Executive of the South African National Space Agency, said access to this data would help to tackle South Africa’s socio-economic problems.
“This initiative will certainly help bolster our extensive archive of satellite imagery collected over the Southern African Development Community region and facilitate the development of human capital in South Africa,” he said.
The South Africa government said the agreement allows collection of images during national emergencies, such as floods and fires, and can also map infrastructure and land use, and measure the water levels of dams.
The nation recently launched two observation satellites in recognition that the country needs its own proprietary satellites rather than rely on commercial machines for imagery, which may not always be available and may not offer coverage of the area of interest.
Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor welcomed the deal.
“Striking international partnerships of this nature bode well for South Africa’s standing and positioning in the global space arena and, on the regional front, place us as leaders in the strategic area of remote sensing,” she said.