Satellites Stack Up Over Japan: Chinese Satellites Fall into Line, Too

April 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Aerospace Law Interfaces | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: New Pacific Institute

by Peter J. Brown

One recent entry on the “SpaceAID” satellite tasking page which was posted by the UN Platform for Space–based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) to track the many satellites passing high over Japan following the earthquake and tsunami has attracted very little attention thus far.

However, the UN-SPIDER’s knowledge portal confirms that China quickly deployed a pair of smaller earth observation satellites — China’s Huan Jing (HJ)-1-A and B – as part of the broader multinational response to this disaster, and that China’s National Committee for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), and the National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) wasted no time in doing so.

At least one of these Chinese satellites acquired imagery of the east coast of the Japanese main island of Honshu approximately two days after Japan had activated the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters‘ on March 11.

The Japanese government certainly welcomed the arrival of a massive flotilla of government and private sector satellites from China, Taiwan, the U.S., and Europe. The fact that Japan’s small fleet of surveillance satellites is recovering from the loss of a Japanese radar satellite last summer only reinforces the important role that the Charter – now entering its second decade – is playing in this instance. [Full story]


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