In FY 2012, which ran from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, the government of South Africa planned to spend an estimated ## million rand (US$## million) on space activities. The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) planned an FY 2012 budget of ## million rand (US$## million). South Africa is also investing in space science elsewhere in its budget. In FY 2012, the Department of Science and Technology planned investment of ## million rand (US$## million) in its space science research program, including ## million rand (US$## million) for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) program, a large-scale international radio telescope project.
Satellite internet is a suitable alternative to conventional cellular and ground-based internet for businesses and farmers operating in remote or difficult-to-reach areas. In 2012, MWEB Business launched a new satellite internet service in South Africa that is designed to benefit farmers, game lodge owners, mining and construction companies, and other customers in areas of the country where conventional services are unavailable. Satellite-based services are also immune to cable theft, a common problem in many developing areas, which can affect the availability of fixed-line communication infrastructure in the region.
Vineyards in South Africa recently began using satellite data to increase the yield of grape harvests and produce higher quality wine while using less water. The GrapeLook service provided by a company called WaterWatch was developed in collaboration with ESA, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in South Africa.
The importance of space as a driver for education also extends to other parts of the world. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has begun implementing a strategic plan titled “Astronomy for the Developing World.” The resulting Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) is hosted at the South African Astronomical Observatory. The OAD uses the scientific, technological, and cultural benefits of astronomy as a development tool by soliciting and funding project proposals, hosting visiting experts, and organizing a variety of astronomy-themed educational events.
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Space activities in South Africa are funded through the Department of Science and Technology (DST). In FY 2011, which ran from April 2011 to March 2012, the DST planned to spend ## million rand (US$## million) on space activities executed through two programs: the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Space Science Research, Development and Innovation subprogram. SANSA, established in 2008, planned an FY 2011 budget of ## million rand (US$## million).
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During the FIFA World Cup 2010, worldwide audiences were able to visit DigitalGlobe’s Flickr gallery or Spot Image’s website, which showed satellite views of all 10 of the venues in South Africa. These galleries provided high-resolution satellite imagery for global audiences.
In the United States, the state government of Idaho uses a water-use mapping system based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat satellites. The system can identify the amount of water being used in individual fields and supports decisions to enable more sustainable water consumption practices.