Ghana will soon launch a second satellite into space to monitor illegal mining activities and deforestation in the country.
The satellite which will be christened Ghanasat 2 will have a high resolution camera to take better and clearer photos than the Ghanasat 1 which was launched in June this year.
The Ghanasat-1 is the country’s first satellite in space and it has two on-board cameras which will undertake earth imaging of Ghana, and also broadcast music including the country’s national anthem from space to the All Nations University ground station.
In a conversation with the host of The Lounge, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo last Friday, the Director of the Space Systems and Technology Laboratory at All Nations University, Dr. Richard Damoah said the Ghanasat-1 will help the country to visually monitor its coastlines, as well as predict natural disasters.
Mrs. Sharon Sappor-Quaye, an engineer and assistant manager at the All Nations University’s Space Systems and Technology Laboratory indicated that the images being captured by the Ghanasat-1 could be sold to other countries as data to generate income for Ghana.
“We can’t always just go buying data from the West. If we go buying, then that means we will be begging all the time but if we have our own, people will now come to us,” she said.
The Ground Station Engineer at the school, Aaron Yankey said he together with his team are determined to move away from the qualitative way of looking at problems onto the quantitative way.
He said: “What satellite gives you is just data but what matters is how you interpret that data. What you do with the data the satellite gives you is what is important. A lot can be seen from the data. We are looking at having a system through which we can get the data and then develop a system where we can use this data to address issues that are close to us. Data is so expensive when you are buying it from outside.”
In a related development, policy makers and key government institutions have been charged to use the data derived from the satellite to address environmental issues affecting the country.
Dr. Damoah also appealed to researchers and institutions which have undertaken various research work key to the development of the nation to release them.
Recounting the difficulty he encountered in gathering data for his doctorate thesis, Dr. Damoah lamented saying, “In our region, data is very difficult to come by. When I was doing my Phd in Germany, I needed metrological data – temperature, wind direction, wind speed and I couldn’t get it. People are measuring these things here but access to the data is the problem. You will make a request and there is no response. People have the data and they sit on it. It’s not only in Ghana, it’s across the continent.”
“NASA have their data free on the internet. You don’t have to struggle to get it. They have provided a lot of data but we are not processing it to get information,” he added.
The Lounge with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo airs live on Starr FM every Friday from 7pm to 8pm and on GHOne TV on Sundays from 8pm to 9pm.