Belarus: Information of the Belarusian satellite should be used to ascertain the peat reserves that the country has. The statement was made by the academician Mr Ivan Lishtvan, Chief Research Officer of the Environmental Management Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.
The academician said that Belarus’ geological reserves of peat are about 4 billion tonnes (5.4 billion tonnes according to different sources), while prospected and certified reserves are 940 million tonnes, with the volume of recoverable resources at only about 600 million tonnes. It is a rough estimate because it relies on results of the surveys performed in Eastern Belarus in the early 1940s and in Western Belarus in the late 1940s. In practice Belarusian agencies and organizations use different data about the peat availability and the fact can result in critical errors in calculating programs and business plans.
The scientist underlined that since the latest geological survey peat reserves cannot have changed seriously due to biological reasons because peat lands grow larger by about 1mm larger every year. However, weathering, erosion, drainage, and bogging of peat reserve lands, commercial extraction, agricultural activities and other factors may substantially influence the peat availability. Besides, the geological survey instruments that were available in the middle of the 20th century could not provide precise data.
Using the data from the Belarusian satellite for the remote sensing of the Earth can provide a clearer picture, believes Ivan Lishtvan. In his words, the possibility of getting space information is being worked on.
“Due to several reasons the Geology Department of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry refuses to carry out a new geological survey of the peat reserves, therefore, satellite data is our only hope,” said the academician.
Precise data is needed for Belarusian scientists and Belarusian companies. At present peat is used in Belarus for heating, power generation, fertilizer manufacturing, production of forage additives and absorbents. Some of the merchandise is exported.
The Belarusian satellite designed to enable the remote sensing of the earth was launched from the Baikonur space launch site, Kazakhstan on 22 July 2012. It is supposed to provide satellite images of entire Belarus.
The satellite is called BelKA which is designed to last for five years; it weighs about 400 kilograms. The satellite”s orbit is circular, sun-synchronous, with 506 km of altitude. BelKA has a high dynamic performance. It is a maneuverable craft that can quickly change its course in orbit to capture images at a desired angle.