Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Roscosmos Acknowledged Full Member of International Charter on Space and Major Disasters


The Board of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters has unanimously approved a decision on acknowledging Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency) a fully fledged member of this international organization, the Roscosmos press service told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday. The executive secretariat of the Charter organization has discussed an account by its technical commission about the results of qualification tests of the Russian Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth to assess the readiness of the Russian center to represent Roscosmos interests in the organization of the Charter.

The commission in its conclusion has fully confirmed the efficiency of the Russian scientific center in cooperation with the Organization of the Charter on exchanging space information for liquidation of emergency situations and major disasters.

On April 14-18, 2014 the Russian scientific center at the request of the Charter organization helped neutralize a storm in Australia and prevent fires in Chile. Information received from the Russian space satellite ‘Resource’ was provided to the territory of Australia; space satellite ‘Meteor-M’, which monitored the territory of Chile, helped avert heavy fires in Chile.

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, the Charter has since brought space assets into play for numerous earthquakes, oil spills, forest fires, tsunamis, major snowfalls, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and landslides, and for the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Credit: ITAR-TASS

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