Brussels, 11 Sep 2003
The way in which man made and natural disasters are monitored is set to change with the launch of three new micro satellites as part of a project involving partners in the UK, Algeria, Turkey, Nigeria and China.
The disaster monitoring constellation (DMC) is the first satellite cluster dedicated to monitoring disasters from space. The three 100 kilogram satellites will be launched from northern Russia on 26 September in order to provide coverage for Nigeria, Turkey, and the UK, and will join the first DMC satellite launched to monitor Algeria in November 2002.
When the full compliment of five satellites is in place, the constellation will be able to provide daily imaging from anywhere in the world, and enable frequent return passes over the same site. While each satellite is independently owned and operated, the whole cluster is designed to be used as a single coordinated instrument as and when required.
The satellites were developed by a UK company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). Professor Martin Sweeting, SSTL's CEO, said: 'DMC represents a modern approach to space missions and paves the way for other constellations of small satellites for a range of different applications.'
UK Science Minister Lord Sainsbury added: 'DMC will be an important tool to help limit the effects of both man made and natural disasters worldwide. By providing near real time images, it will inform and improve relief efforts, enabling aid agencies to target critical assistance to those in need.'