On 26 January 2023, the Ministry of Telecommunications, Information Technologies and Social Communications (MINTTICS), the National Space Programme Management Office (GGPEN), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Space Enabled Research Group of the MIT Media Lab, inaugurated the “Support System for Policies to Combat Drought in Southern Angola” project.
The drought mitigation project is a USD 550,000-funded project by the National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA), which seeks to acquire data for drought monitoring and water management in Angola, leveraging satellite data mining systems.
Furthermore, the project aims to equip the Angolan Government for the next three years with data on water resources and the location of endangered settlements affected by drought and support decision-making processes on a short, medium and long-term basis. In addition, the Support System for Policies to Combat Drought in Southern Angola will utilise space technology to gather data on ideal locations for the execution of designing projects, such as Canal do Cafú.
Speaking at the launch event, the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Technologies, Pascoal Alé Fernandes, disclosed that the project is an essential platform for collecting, organising and sharing information systematically and permanently to mitigate occurrences of drought, which cyclically affects thousands of citizens in various areas of the country.
According to Dr Danielle Wood, the project’s principal investigator for the United States of America and a Professor at MIT, “the project is fully operational and would be managed by an Angolan staff assigned to GGPEN”. In addition, Dr Danielle stated that software would be harnessed to create accurate data needed to solve cyclical drought in the country and measure its intensity based on the information provided by three NASA satellites.
“We will not use Angosat-2 because it is an exclusive telecommunications satellite, not an Earth observation satellite. For this purpose, remote sensor satellites are used because they gravitate in a lower orbit than telecommunication satellites”, Dr Daniella concluded.
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