International Charter on Space and Major Disasters

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The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters is a charter which provides for the charitable retasked acquisition of and transmission of space satellite data to relief organizations in the event of major disasters. Initiated by the European Space Agency and the French space agency CNES after the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999, it officially came into operation on November 1, 2000 after the Canadian Space Agency signed onto the charter on October 20, 2000. Their space assets were then, respectively, ERS and ENVISAT, SPOT and Fomosat, and RADARSAT.

The assorted satellite assets of various private, national, and international space agencies provide for humanitarian coverage which is wide albeit contingent. First activated for floods in northeast France in December 2001,[1] the Charter has since brought space assets into play for numerous earthquakes, oil spills, forest fires, tsunamis, major snowfalls, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and landslides,[2][3] and for the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.[4]

Successive signatories and satellite assets[edit]

  • The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — (POES), (GOES) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) (September 2001) — (the Indian Remote Sensing satellite series)
  • Argentine Space Agency (CONAE) (July 2003) — (SAC-C)
  • February 2005 – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) — (ALOS)
  •  ? 2005 – United States Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the U.S. team — (Landsat, Quickbird, GeoEye 1)
  • November 2005 – The British space agency BNSC (UK-DMC) with the company DMCii
  • May 2007 – China National Space Administration (CNSA) — (the FY, SJ, ZY satellite series)
  •  ? – DMC International Imaging
  •  ? – The Algerian space agency Centre National des Techniques Spatiales — (ALSAT-1)
  •  ? – The Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency — (NigeriaSat)
  •  ? – The Turkish space agency TUBITAK — (BILSAT-1)
  •  ? – The British company BNSC/Surrey Satellite Technology Limited — (UK-DMC)
  •  ? – The British company BNSC/Qinetiq — (Top Sat)
  • 2012 German Aerospace Center (DLR) - (TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X)
  • 2012 Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
  • 2012 Instituto Nacional de PesquisasEspaciais, Brazil (INPE)
  • 2012 European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)[5]

As of 2012 the live satellites and their instrumentalities were: The high resolution and very high resolution radar sensors of ENVISAT (decommissioned in April), RISAT-1, RADARSAT-1 & 2, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X; the high resolution and very high resolution optical sensors of SPOT satellites 4 & 5, Pleiades, Landsat 5 & 7, PROBA1, UK-DMC 2, KOMPSAT-2, IRS-P5, Resourcesat-2, Oceansat-2, Cartosat-2, IMS-1, and RapidEye; the medium and low resolution optical sensors of POES, GOES, and SAC-C. Furthermore, specific agreements with other entities, including corporations, allow the Charter access to additional products of high and very high resolution from satellites such as the Formosat series, GeoEye, IKONOS, QuickBird, and WorldView.[6]

Events resulting in activation[edit]

The charter was activated for the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[7]

The French Civil Protection authorities, Public Safety Canada, the American Earthquake Hazards Programme of USGS and the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti requested a post-event map of Haiti on January 14, 2010, two days after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, via the Space and Major Disasters Charter.[8][9]

Both COGIC (French Civil Protection)[10] and the American USGS requested the activation of the charter on the behalf of MCDEM New Zealand, thus readily providing satellite imagery for aid and rescue services following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[11]

Japan, through its space agency JAXA, requested the activation of the charter on March 12, 2011 to help in managing the aftermath of 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[12]

The charter was activated on November 8, 2013 by Philippine authorities as super-typhoon Yolanda made landfall.[13]

On March 11, 2014[14] the charter was activated by Chinese authorities[15] to aid in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]