The China National Space Administration has become the newest member of the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters', a joint initiative that works to provide emergency response satellite data free of charge to those affected by disasters anywhere in the world.
China National Space Administration (CNSA) Administrator Prof. Dr Sun Laiyan signed the Charter on 24 May at ESA headquarters in Paris, France, in the presence of ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and CNES Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Yannick d'Escatha. "The International Charter Space and Major Disasters has proven to be a very successful mechanism for international cooperation among partners for contributing Earth observation data," Dordain said. "We are delighted to welcome the newcomer CNSA of China to the programme today."
Each member of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters has demonstrated its commitment to using space assets when it is most needed, such as when disasters of natural and human origin strike the worlds communities or wreak havoc on the environment. To date, the Charter has been activated more than 125 times.
With CNSA's addition, disaster management authorities will now not only have access to Chinese satellite data archives but also to data from new CNSA missions.
Last month, two American commercial satellite imagery firms DigitalGlobe and GeoEye joined forces with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a Charter member, representing a unique collaboration between governments and industry in the area of commercial space imaging that benefits people worldwide.
GeoEye and DigitalGlobe own and operate Earth-imaging satellites that acquire very high-resolution images. DigitalGlobe's QUICKBIRD and GeoEye's IKONOS satellites, for example, capture panchromatic images with a resolution of one metre or less.