Reinventing Disaster Reconnaissance through Space Assets


When a disaster occurs, an aggressive machine of governments, agencies, and volunteers immediately reacts to the event with a lack of information. Currently, agencies rely on unstable communications, perhaps UAV passes (which may be politically limited), or, hours later, space assets. Workers may be dispatched without fully understanding the extent of the damage to roads, buildings, or infrastructure at a risk to the safety of both the afflicted community and their volunteers. Imagine launching a satellite that, within hours, provides clear pictures, communication, sensor readings, and information to volunteers/troops identifying the most afflicted regions.
This paper will showcase an example of how responsive space assets could respond to a potential tsunami disaster. It will effectively utilize space assets, propose constellation architecture that can effectively give accurate information within hours and finally look at the performance capability of a satellite covering an affected area. Such architecture must focus on common disaster areas. It is not beneficial to create a responsive asset that covers the whole world when a specific range is required. The orbit must provide repeat coverage that would easily be accessible to the ground support team.

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Taylor, C., N. Sarzi-Amade and S. Young. Reinventing Space Conference, Los Angeles, CA. October 14–17, 2013.