October 2013 – Surge of emergency acquisitions at Astrium Services
In the space of two weeks, Astrium Services has activated its satellites 15 times in response to emergency situations. Funded by the European Commission and initiated by ESA for Europe’s Copernicus programme, such activations supply rapid geospatial information to European public authorities.
From 5 to 18 October, the constellation of satellites formed by SPOT 5, SPOT 6, Pleiades-1A and Pleiades-1B supplied imagery of India in the wake of a cyclone, Cambodia following deadly Mekong river floods, and of flooding in southern Italy.
The quick-response capability of this new generation of satellites is well suited to emergency situations and explains the surge in imagery acquisitions. The satellites’ responsiveness and the 24/7 operations team at Astrium were able to deliver imagery less than 24 hours after activation. Astrium Services supplied both current and pre-emergency images.
Copernicus is a joint initiative of the European Commission and ESA supporting public authorities in the European Union with geo-information products and services. The Emergency Management service of the Copernicus programme offers an enhanced rapid mapping capability using satellite data to respond to emergencies and disasters.