UN, Airbus select African team to embark on climate assessment mission

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Dry cracked soil ground texture in fields, Kenya safari National Park,./Getty Images

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space on Wednesday announced the selection of an African team to embark on a space mission for monitoring climate.

A joint statement from UNOOSA and Airbus released in Nairobi said the ClimCam team compromising specialists from Egypt, Kenya and Uganda will receive a one-year free mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to assess impacts of climate change across the East African region.

Simonetta Di Pippo, UNOOSA director said the top cream of researchers selected from the three African countries will fly on-board the International Space as part of the project to develop a remote sensing camera system to monitor weather patterns in a region already reeling from climate-related shocks.

“This project will acquire precious insights for the east African region to address pressing challenges such as droughts and floods, increase the resilience of its agricultural sector, potentially saving many lives and helping to build a better future,” said Di Pippo.

According to Di Pippo, a selection of specialists drawn from diverse fields in the Egyptian Space Station, Kenya Space Agency and Uganda National Space Program, marked a milestone in harnessing space technology to address Africa’s climate crisis.

She said that selection of the African team to fly on Bartolomeo, the Airbus external payload hosting platform, will inject vitality into the continent’s nascent space sector.

Di Pippo said the team was shortlisted after demonstrating ingenuity, adding that it will share data, information and images that will guide future climate response in East Africa.

Andreas Hammer, head of Space Exploration at Airbus Defence and Space said the African team will be provided with technical support to enable it to accomplish the mission of assessing impacts of climate change on ecosystems.

According to Hammer, improving the skills of African space professionals is key to revitalizing action on climate change that has worsened food insecurity and water scarcity in the continent.

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