Andalusian Farmland Will Be Monitored from Space

A nanosatellite will provide local farmers with data about agriculture's effect on the regional environment.
By Paolo DeAndreis
Jan. 30, 2023 15:38 UTC

A small satel­lite equipped with ultra-high res­o­lu­tion mul­ti­spec­tral cam­eras will soon point its elec­tronic eyes on Andalusian farm­land in Spain.

The nano-satel­lite will be launched next October by Falcon9 from a SpaceX base in either California or Florida. Once in orbit, the device will gather and trans­mit cru­cial data for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in the region.

The satel­lite will mon­i­tor the effects of farm­ing on the ter­ri­tory and its nat­ural resources, pro­duc­ing a whole new swath of infor­ma­tion that can be used to inform future poli­cies on the preser­va­tion of the envi­ron­ment and sus­tain­abile farm­ing.

See Also:Olive Grove Expansion Threatens Endangered Bird Species in Spain

As reported in the offi­cial press note, the new device comes from a part­ner­ship between the Junta de Andalucia, the Andalusian regional gov­ern­ment, and the LifeWatch ERIC project, a European research body that inves­ti­gates bio­di­ver­sity and the ecosys­tem. The Andalusian Agricultural and Fisheries Management Agency (AGAPA) is also part of the ini­tia­tive.

The nano-satel­lite is being built by the Open Cosmos com­pany, which was founded in Andalusia. Its con­trol cen­ter will be located in the Doñana National Park, in south­ern Spain. It will be run in part­ner­ship with the University of Huelva.

The nano-satel­lite will oper­ate as part of a 12-device con­stel­la­tion. Participating in the project allows the part­ners to access all rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion retrieved by the con­stel­la­tion.

As reported by TheDailyGuardian, the space view pro­vided by the satel­lite will allow macro­scopic obser­va­tion of the region.

There are three lev­els of col­lect­ing data on the impact of farm­ing. The first level pro­vides micro­scopic analy­sis of soil and sea microor­gan­isms. The sec­ond level uses sen­sors and drones to report real-time infor­ma­tion about human activ­i­ties and the envi­ron­ment. The macro­scopic obser­va­tion pro­vided by the satel­lite will rep­re­sent the third level.

According to Carmen Crespo, Councillor for Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development of the Junta de Andalucía, the new project under­lines the cru­cial role of LifeWatch ERIC, which offers impor­tant data that allows bet­ter deci­sions to be made in the pur­suit of sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and pre­serv­ing bio­di­ver­sity.”

Crespo under­lined how such inno­va­tion would allow Andalusia to accom­plish the eco­log­i­cal and agri­cul­tural objec­tives given by the European Commission.


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