The British National Space Centre supported by Disaster Monitoring Constellation International Imaging Ltd have taken over the rotating six-month leadership of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’, a joint initiative by global space agency members to provide emergency response satellite data free of charge to rescue authorities responding to major natural or man-made disasters anywhere in the world.
"The UK is proud to lead this important group. We often think of space as being somewhere to explore, but it can also bring enormous benefits to us here on Earth," UK Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Pearson said. "By working together, the Charter’s international partners are helping to save lives across the globe."
Satellite data can be of immense value to relief agencies in the identification and management of disaster events. As a consequence, ESA and the French space agency (CNES) initiated the Charter in 2000 to provide rush access to a broad range of satellite image data.
Following Charter activation, space-acquired data products and associated resources are made directly available to the civil protection agencies concerned. Services also include processing and interpretation. To date, the Charter has been activated more than 140 times.
The British National Space Centre (BNSC), as the representative of the multi-national Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), will chair the Charter Board. UK company DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii), representing the DMC, will chair the Charter Executive Secretariat, which oversees the practical implementation of the Charter through the Partners. BNSC and DMCii take over the Chair from JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency.
Other Charter members currently include the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Argentine Space Agency (CONAE), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA).