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Disaster Monitoring Constellation wins AIAA award

Last night, the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) was presented the 2012 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space Systems award at the AIAA Space 2012 conference and exhibition in California. The award recognises outstanding achievements in the architecture, analysis, design, and implementation of space systems. Sir Martin Sweeting, SSTL’s Executive Chairman and founder, accepted the award on behalf of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation which was nominated for "˜being an unprecedented example of international cooperation in the application of space systems to the mitigation of human suffering.’ By the late 1990s, after more than a decade in business, SSTL had reduced the cost of Earth Observation satellites to the point where governments and organisations throughout the world could own an independent satellite. The SSTL team recognised the potential of using constellations of small, but highly capable, satellites to monitor disasters from space and, with support from the former British National Space Centre (BNSC), the Disaster Monitoring Constellation was born.
NigeriaSat-1 image of flooding following Hurricane Katrina. Copyright NASRDA 2005. All rights reserved.
NigeriaSat-1 image of flooding following Hurricane Katrina. Copyright NASRDA 2005. All rights reserved.
In 2002, the first satellite AlSat-1 was launched and it was soon joined by UK-DMC, NigeriaSat-1 and BILSAT-1 in 2003. Since then, the constellation has continued to evolve with new technological breakthroughs and currently there are five active members; UK (SSTL), Nigeria (NASRDA), Algeria (ASAL), China (BLMIT) and Spain (Deimos) that pool the resources of their satellites for disaster and commercial imaging. In 2004, SSTL’s independent remote sensing arm, DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii), was established to coordinate the constellation for humanitarian and commercial imaging campaigns. DMCii works with the world’s Space Agencies and the United Nations (UN), under the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters to provide multi-spectral optical imagery during natural disasters. Since its conception, DMCii has responded to more than 170 Charter requests for disaster imagery including Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (see the image above), the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and the Japanese Tsunami of 2011.
UK-DMC2 image of Sendai oil refinery fire following earthquake in Japan. Copyright DMCii 2011. All rights reserved.
UK-DMC2 image of Sendai oil refinery fire following earthquake in Japan. Copyright DMCii 2011. All rights reserved.
The cost effective satellites and shared infrastructure of the constellation provided a springboard for countries such as Algeria and Nigeria to establish national space programmes and use Earth observation to monitor resources. Using the multiple satellites in the constellation gives DMCii the ability to image any point in the world on a daily basis, providing valuable timely data for disaster relief, agriculture and precision farming, and detecting illegal logging and deforestation.





13 September 20120 Comments1 Comment

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