Government has set a target for Zambia to launch its own satellite atleast in the next two years in order for the country to have timely data to inform decision making.
Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati said this ambition will need to be backed by the development of a space science policy which should underpin the target to launch the satellite as a starting point.
Mr. Mutati said what the country is doing now is borrowing space from other satellites which limits access to data when it is needed.
Mr. Mutati was speaking during a familiarization tour of the National Remote Sensing Centre and the National Institute for Scientific Research infrastructure in Lusaka.
Mr. Mutati said as a result of lacking access to data due to the dependence on foreign satellites, certain disasters which could be avoided are not prevented.
He said the new dawn government’s goal is that as the country is developing its 8th National Development Plan, the anchor for this document should be that by the end of its implementation, Zambia will be able to launch its own satellite.
Mr. Mutati said there are already a number of cooperating partners that are willing and stand ready to give funding support especially that the country already has impressive scientific capacity to put up a satellite, which can be locally setup by Zambian brains.
“The goal for the next development plan is that Zambia must launch a satellite with which we will be able to address our challenges in agriculture, land use, health and energy among others which will put the country at a different pace. For everything that we do, launching a satellite becomes the overarching goal,” Mr. Mutati said.
He said government pronounces itself that the next venture for Zambia in the space of science is to launch a satellite using the knowledge and capabilities of the scientific brains of the country to deal with challenges in real time.
The Minister said it is in the interest of the nation that climate change must be dealt with in real time and having a satellite is the most crucial component.
And Mr. Mutati tasked the National Remote Sensing Centre to find a strategy on how important national planning information can be conveyed to the broader population instead putting monopoly to it as part of a deliberate effort to implement resolutions made at the Cop 26 on climate change mitigation.