Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Satellites ensure safe passage through treacherous waters in Volvo Ocean Race

07.03.2006


The Volvo Ocean Race yachts have safely rounded Cape Horn on the fourth leg of their round-the-world adventure thanks to the help of radar satellites steering them away from dangerous icebergs.



While all the legs of the race have their unique dangers, Volvo Ocean Race Meteorologist Chris Bedford said leg four is arguably the most dangerous. "The boats have to face 50-knot storms, massive seas and possible ice, and if something happens on the leg, help is many hours and, more likely, days away."

C-CORE, a Canadian company providing Earth observation based geo-information services, supplied ‘pre-leg’ reconnaissance of the areas in the Southern Ocean notorious for harbouring icebergs by using data acquired by the ESA’s Envisat and the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) RADARSAT-1 satellites.


Within a few hours of the satellites collecting the data with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), C-CORE received and processed it using a specialised Iceberg Detection Software. The results, which included iceberg targets, their size and shape and longitude and latitude information, were then forwarded to Bedford, who provided it to the crews.

"The C-CORE service has been a huge help in allowing us to set the course in such a manner as to keep the team away from potential ice," Bedford said. "In addition, the crews were able to leave the dock with a reasonable idea of where the ice was most likely to be."

Knowing where the ice was most likely to be was helpful to sailors who still had to be vigilant and weary of ‘growlers’ – smaller bits of ice that break away from main icebergs and do not show up on radar. Growlers can be the size of a small car and are extremely dangerous and difficult to spot by eye, especially when travelling at full speed during rough seas at night.

"I’m relieved that I got through another amazing Southern Ocean trip in one piece, but also somewhat sad. Every time I get to this part of a round-the-world trip I look over my shoulder at Cape Horn and just wonder: will I be coming down here again? If not, thank you Southern Ocean for letting me cross you safely and for those unforgettable experiences," Ericsson skipper Neal McDonald wrote to race headquarters via email.

The Volvo Ocean Race, which takes place every four years, is a 31 250 nautical mile round-the-world race comprised of nine legs. The fourth leg covers 6 700 miles from Wellington, New Zealand, to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, via Cape Horn.

C-CORE is funded under The Polar View initiative and is part of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), a joint initiative by the ESA and the European Commission to establish an independent global monitoring capacity in support of European policy goals.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMF02NVGJE_economy_0.html

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

20.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>