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Emergency areas in Russia can be seen better from space now

Russia, 17 February 2007 – In 2007, a broad-scale emergency situations space monitoring system started to operate in Russia. Starting in late 2006, Russian Ministry of Emergencies (Emercom) has been implementing a comprehensive program of upgrading the departmental system of emergencies monitoring from space.

As a result of the 2006 open tender, the ScanEx Center has won a contract on the outfitting of regional emergency centers with universal space data reception ground stations. In January the ScanEx specialists put into operation two new UniScan ground stations in Siberian Regional Emergency Center in Krasnoyarsk and in Vologda Regional Emergency Center.

Small-size UniScan station with 2.4 m antenna operates in X-band and will enable to receive the operational monitoring data from 6 satellites: TERRA and AQUA (USA), SPOT-2/4 (France), “Monitor-E” (Russia) and RADARSAT-1 (Canada). The selection of these satellites is not occasional. Terra and Aqua satellites with multi-channel low resolution MODIS scanners make it possible to receive general survey images of the entire area of interest several times per day. MODIS space data is used for fires and floods detection, land cover, snow and ice situation assessments. SPOT-2/4 and Monitor-E satellites are designed for a more detailed imagery of specifics areas damaged as a result of natural and man-made disasters (resolution 10-20 m).

RADARSAT-1 radar satellite provides for all-weather imagery regardless of meteo conditions and insolation. Before upgrading the Siberian Regional Emergency Center could acquire only low resolution space images. The second similar UniScan station has been installed in the Vologda Regional Emergency Center as a replacement to the obsolete MODIS data reception ground station.

Pursuant to the installation of new ground receiving station, regional Emercom centers obtained operational access to new high resolution and all-weather radar space data. Now the Emercom rescue teams can predict the situation better and delineate the area of the emergency for a much quicker response.