China, 24 May 2007: 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, CNES Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yannick d’Escatha and the Chinese Ambassador to France Zhao Jinjun.
“The International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ has proven to be very useful to support organisations in charge of managing consequences for the population facing natural disasters,” Dordain said. ” We are delighted to welcome the newcomer CNSA of China to the Charter, bringing new and performant capabilites for providing data in case of natural disasters.”
In the month of April, two American commercial satellite imagery firms, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye joined forces with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a Charter member, representing a collaboration between governments and industry in the area of commercial space imaging that benefits people worldwide. The two firms accepted to donate archived and newly tasked imagery to USGS and the Charter.
Each member of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ has to provide spacebased assets when it is most needed, such as when disasters of natural and human origin strike the world’s communities or wreak havoc on the environment. Until now 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.