Israel will start providing satellite data as well as images that will help rescuers operate at disaster scenes around the world, increasing the nation’s contribution to international search and rescue efforts.
The idea for Israel’s satellites to serve as eyes in the sky at disaster sites came about as part of the ongoing cooperation between the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses for Outer Space. Daniel Brook, an advisor to the ISA on international relations, learned about the U.N. Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (SPIDER), which serves as a data transfer hub in the event of international catastrophes. Nations can voluntarily submit their own images and SPIDER will forward them to the relevant authorities.
Seeking to join the effort, the Israel Space Agency hired ImageSat, a company that operates Israel’s EROS A and EROS B satellites from the Israel Aerospace Industries building and Elop, respectively. When necessary, ImageSat will aim the satellites at disaster-struck locations. Images captured will be immediately transferred via SPIDER.
ImageSat has already photographed many disaster scenes, including the tsunami in Thailand, but until now there has been no organized manner in which to get the data to the right people in an expeditious manner.