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Italian satellites monitor earthquake damages in Sichuan

COSMO-SkyMed, the Italian satellite system for Earth observation, is being used to help the Chinese areas hit by the devastating earthquake of May 12.

Yesterday, by request of the Chinese Government, the ASI satellites captured two images of the area surrounding the city of Guan Xian, close to the epicentre, thus proving to be able to operate on critical areas with very short response time.

Area surrounding the city of Guan Xian showing a dam.

Moreover, due to the difficult weather conditions, only the Italian radar satellites could operate yesterday on Sichuan. The picture clearly shows a dam, that will be constantly monitored in the next days for damages.

The images were processed yesterday at ASI's Data Acquisition Centre in Matera, southern Italy, managed for ASI by Telespazio.

In the next few days, COSMO-SkyMed will continue providing useful data to the Chinese Gonvernment, to the Italian Civilian Protection Department (which is planning a mission in Sichuan) and to various NGOs. COSMO images will be used to detect damages to buildings and metal structures, including bridges and dams.

COSMO-SKyMed is a satellite system for Earth observation by the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Defence Ministry. Telespazio (a Thales/Finmeccanica company) manages the ground segment, while the satelliets are built by Thales Alenia Space Italia. Once completed, the system will be made of four satellites, two of which are already in orbit and operational.

Nicola Nosengo | alfa
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