Fire fighters tackling the blazes that have ravaged Portugal are doing so with the aid of a satellite data-link.
For the first time, ESA’s satellite Artemis has been used to support an emergency request under the International Charter on “Space and Major Disasters”.
Portugal’s civil protection unit (SNPC) was able to receive information and groups of images that showed the scope of the fires. The data, transmitted from ESA’s Earth observation satellite, Envisat, via the Artemis data-relay spacecraft in geostationary orbit, were received in near real-time at the ESA data processing centre, located at ESRIN near Rome.
On 4 August ESA’s Earthwatching service requested a full resolution MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) acquisition over the areas in Portugal affected by the fire. The Portuguese Civil Protection then requested emergency planning on 6 August, through the Charter. The first acquisition was made via Artemis on 7 August.
Dominique Detain | alfa
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