The Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) is set to be officially launched tomorrow by the President of Zimbabwe; Emmerson Mnangagwa. The Ministry Of Higher & Tertiary Education, Science & Technology Development who will be heading the agency released details of how ZINGSA will be structured.
The space agency will be made up of five of the following departments…
1. Space Operations and Launch Services Department
The Ministry has specified that this department will have the following responsibilities:
- preparation and implementation of Earth Observation missions;
- satellite command and control;
- managing communication between spacecraft, ground stations and control centres;
- linking various complex operating processes;
- incorporating new technologies to space operations as the technologies become available;
- strategic planning of space operations; specifically developing future plans for ZINGSA systems, facilities and personnel;
- launch services facilitating access to space for ZINGSA missions;
- ensure that critical infrastructure to access and use space meets expectations of ZINGSA.
2. Space Science Department
According to the Ministry the Space Science Department will act as ZINGSA’s reasearcher:
There shall be a Space Science Department responsible for championing research that will increase the understanding of planets that exist outside the Earth’s solar system through coordinating scientific research and educational programmes to improve science education, with the following key research areas:
- space physics;
- space weather, and planetary science.
3. Space Engineering Department
There shall be a Space Engineering Department which shall provide Engineering advice and assistance to
- ZINGSA programmes and projects,
- ZINGSA innovations for space; from concept to applications,
- educate scientists and engineers as well as inspire Space Research to better understand the Earth, our solar system and beyond.
4. Geospatial and Earth Observation Department
This department will conduct specialised research and development projects and activities on geospatial applications and earth observation. Focus will be placed on;
- geoinformation Science and Earth Observation
- geospatial analytics and remote sensing
- mining and mineral exploration
- disaster management
- weather and climate,
- geospatial intelligence
- agriculture intelligence
- water, energy, health and any other nationally strategic applications.
5. Finance and Administration department
The administration department is tasked with with ensuring the efficient delivery of the promises made ZINGSA. The target of this department are said to be:
- developing business plans, timelines and budgets t perform financial projects;
- developing and maintaining standard financial and administrative procedures;
- monitoring and managing expenditures within allotted budget;
- ensuring the preparation and maintenance of all financial records;
- identification and resolution of financial and administrative issues
We have highlighted some of the major focus the Agency will be working on which include:
Renewable energy mapping
One of the core focuses of the space agency will be using satellites to further renewable energy mapping for the country. It makes sense that this would be one of the focuses; we are all aware of the energy shortages and the World Bank has made it clear why developing nations need to embrace renewable energy:
For developing countries, increasing the share of energy powered by domestic, renewable sources is a critical component to improving energy security and access, strengthening the national fiscal outlook, and transitioning to a more sustainable energy sector.
Geological minerals mapping
The space agency will also be used to identify areas where the prevalence of minerals is high. We are hoping the Space Agency will work with the Zimbabwe Geological Survey Department which has very similar goals when it comes to mapping of minerals.
Tourism can be very lucrative to African countries and efforts to protect wildlife are always welcome. Some of the applications of satellites in wildlife surveillance include:
- more accurate counting of wildlife populations
- rapid detection of deforestation
- illegal mining
All these are necessary things to look out for as the impact these factors may have on the tourism industry will be devastating if no action is taken.
The impact a space agency can have is far reaching and one of the aims of ZINGSA is Malaria and Bilharzia mapping. As far back as 2000 satellites have been used in Africa to try and deal with the Malaria endemic.
Earlier in June, we announced the Nation’s plan to establish this Space Agency and we are glad this is coming to pass now. It is clear that space science and technology is an important tool for ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources and the creation of high-technology industrial sectors. Furthermore, it makes a considerable contribution to the creation of enabling environments for addressing a wide range of pressing challenges, including the need to create jobs, reduce poverty, manage resources sustainably, and develop rural areas. We hope Zimbabwe would capitalize on this to grow the country.