The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development of the Government of Andalusia will launch its first nanosatellite into space in the coming months, which will be a milestone before the end of 2023. For the regional minister, Carmen Crespo, it will also be an important step “in our commitment to cutting-edge technology, as its mission will be mainly to quantify the impact of climate change on the agricultural and fisheries sector and to contribute to improving biodiversity management”.
The first Andalusian nanosatellite, which will finally be called Platero, is made up of six 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm cubes and has a high-precision camera that will provide a ground resolution of almost five metres. The device will orbit at an altitude of 560 kilometres and will make a complete circle over Andalusia every two days. According to Carmen Crespo, “it will also be one of the most innovative nanosatellites designed to date and will collect images with a state-of-the-art multispectral camera”. Platero will be able to capture data that will be dumped in real time on the same platform together with those obtained by terrestrial and floating sensors through e-IoT (Internet of Things) observation technology to make the data more processable.
The linking of this important technological tool to the province of Huelva and specifically to the Doñana area, according to the Junta’s Agriculture Minister, “is due to the role that this province is going to play in the project and to its name, which is in recognition of the great poet from Moguer, Juan Ramón Jiménez”. Carmen Crespo referred in this respect to the choice of name, as Platero was chosen from a shortlist of three names put forward by Andalusian schoolchildren. To choose the name, an online survey was distributed among the students of the secondary schools included in the Aldea Educational Innovation Programme, in which the Regional Ministries of Agriculture and Educational Development and Vocational Training collaborate.
Finally, the Regional Minister of Agriculture wished to recognise the importance that the SmartFood project, which includes the Platero nanosatellite, will have for Andalusia, recalling that “it is a European initiative led by Agapa to promote the sustainable development of the agricultural, fishing and forestry sectors in Andalusia through technology and innovation”. The initiative has the international research consortium LifeWatch ERIC as its main partner. The project is financed with Feder funds and has the collaboration of the universities of Cordoba and Malaga and the Campus of International Agri-Food Excellence (ceiA3).