The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” Helped by Our Satellite Constellation

The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters”, formed in November 2000 by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French Space Agency (CNES), aims to provide unified access to satellite data to assist when responding to natural or man-made disasters. Each member agency commits resources to support the provisions of the Charter, collectively helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property. This service is available 24/7 at no cost to the end user.

Some impressive figures:

  • The Charter has been activated 479 times since its creation. In 2014, climate change was the trigger for 84% of the activations.
  • Pléiades and SPOT have been solicited for 29 activations in 2015 alone
  • TerraSAR-X has been solicited for 27 activations in 2015
  • The DMC Constellation has been solicited for 16 activations in 2015 

Discover how representatives of CNES and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) highlight the contribution Airbus Defence and Space makes to the objectives of the Charter.

Read the interview with Claire Tinel, CNES

Read the interview with Dr. Tobias Schneiderhan, DLR ZKI

When a disaster strikes, lives are too often at stake – making timeliness and rapid reactivity essential. Through the Charter, the acquisition of satellite data over disaster areas can be prioritised, making sure that the necessary information is available directly to those responding to the situation. Airbus Defence and Space’s satellite constellation provides an efficient response thanks to its daily revisit capability and its weather independence. The agility and the configuration of our satellites means we are able to guarantee access to a target area every day, regardless of its location. As fast acquisitions and rush deliveries are key when dealing with crises, tasking plans can be easily updated to enable last minute requests to be rapidly integrated.

TerraSAR-X map - Disaster Malawi

Satellite map produced from TerraSAR-X images over Malawi-Bangula depicting the flood situation on the ground. January 13, 2015 © DLR/ZKI 2015

Pléiades Map - Earthquake in Nepal-Kathmandu

Following the recent earthquake in Nepal-Kathmandu, Pléiades images enabled a map of spontaneous gathering areas to be created. April 27, 2015 © SERTIT 2015

International Charter