Identifying and Developing Effective Applications of Space for Africa
163 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2012 Last revised: 9 Jul 2012
Date Written: May 1, 2012
This report presents the conclusions of the Space and Africa Team Project at the International Space University‟s (ISU) 2011-2012 Masters Program, held at Strasbourg, France. The Identifying and Developing Effective Applications of Space for Africa (IDEAS for Africa) team has assessed how space can contribute to sustained social and economic development in Africa. Space can provide many benefits - from spinoff technologies, satellite applications, and even establishing self-sustained commercial industries. But how is space relevant for Africa? How can space be used to save and improve lives, protect the environment, mitigate severe weather conditions, and build industries and economies? In ISU's first African-focused team project, this report begins by selecting three dissimilar countries to serve as examples for the entire continent. Liberia, Morocco, and South Africa are selected not only based on their respective levels of space development, but also because they differ geographically, socially, economically, and politically. In learning about these target countries, the report maintains a focus on six socio-political focus areas (agriculture, education, energy, environment, health, and STEM education – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
Next, the report discusses three spinoffs especially relevant to improving these conditions. The team selected three for further investigation: Organically Derived Colloidals, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements. Born from space industry research, these spinoffs can be repurposed to improve lives across Africa. The report then finds and analyses four satellite applications especially relevant to African concerns. FarmaBooths (a way of bringing satellite imagery to rural African farmers), Telemedicine Vans, a Desert Movement Predictor, and an Anti-poaching program, are all applications of space technology that can be implemented in Africa.
Two potential space businesses are then analyzed. An African Space Education Center can be used to build domestic capacity in high technology fields, prevent “brain drain”, and foster a domestic space industry. The revival of South Africa's Overberg Test Range is then offered as a potential commercial venture. A discussion of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is included in the discussion of each space spinoff, satellite application, and space business proposal, along with any ethical implications. Finally, the creation of two organizations to bring space to Africa is discussed. An African Space Agency and a Space for Africa Non-Governmental Organization are two ways to implement our ideas for Africa.
Keywords: Africa, space applications, telemedicine, South Africa, Liberia, Morocco
JEL Classification: N17, N87
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation