The earth observation satellite will be used for mapping and land surveying activities, regional development, agricultural monitoring, the prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification, as well as border and coastal surveillance, says in a press release Arianespace, which will orbit the satellite.
The satellite, result of an agreement signed secretly by Morocco and France in 2013, was built by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus for some €500 million. It will be launched from the European space port of Kourou in French Guiana using an Italian Vega launcher.
Designed as a dual civil/military system, the satellite, to be operated by Morocco, delivers very-high-resolution optical data products in record time. It can provide imagery anywhere in the world in less than 24 hrs. It also offers a wide coverage, fine detail, intensive monitoring, extensive archives and 50 cm resolution imagery.
This space-based imaging system, piloted from Morocco, will greatly help the country implement its social and economic development strategies, primarily those relating to the agricultural sector, which plays a key role in Moroccan economy.
The spacecraft will enable Morocco to manage better its forestry and pastoral resources, its water resources, in addition to facilitating groundwater prospecting.
The satellite will also strengthen the capacities of national agencies in charge of monitoring road infrastructure, transport networks, borders and the 3000 km-long coastline, in addition to opening new prospects in the field of spatial planning, the monitoring of housing and construction, and the follow-up of slums eradication operations.
It will likewise offer environmental applications that will help the North African country consolidate its environmental strategy and honor the environmental commitments it made, especially at COP21 and COP22.
Besides, many analysts believe that the satellite will enhance Morocco’s security capabilities in combating cross-border crimes, smuggling, and trafficking and in monitoring jihadists operating in the region.