European Space Agency



The activity consist of a prototype development, technical verification and validation of a satellite-based communication system for managing emergency situations involving the use of earth observation techniques. It shall qualify this satellite communication platform as a cost effective and modular system for near-real time data dissemination in different topologies and different service level requirements.

The system shall allow a flexible set-up for serving a topology characterised by one fixed geographical location, e.g. earth observation satellite data acquisition station and a number of geographical areas in Europe and around the Mediterranean basin. Communications shall be enabled between the fixed location and portable stations to be placed in these areas, or mobiles moving in these areas, in particular ships.

In an emergency situation the end-to-end system set-up shall be available and activated either within hours (pre-equipped and configured system) or within one to two days (configuration and shipment from stock).

The activity shall be conducted in a phased approach:

  • Phase 1 shall analyse requirements according to different applications, e.g. different level of flexibility required for seasonal events (sea-ice) and unpredictable events (earth quakes), different service modules required for high resolution/ high volume data transfer (e.g. flood events) and low volume data (position of iceberg), or with/without complementary multimedia information services.

  • Phase 2 shall implement, verify and validate a first set-up, based on one fixed location for serving one application, i.e. one level of requirements to a corresponding geographical area in Europe. A candidate application could be oil-spill monitoring in parts of the Mediterranean basin.

  • During Phase 3, it is planned to extend the system to serve different other applications, including a






Communication service requirements originating from earth observation applications in emergency situations strongly differ from requirements related to applications driving the provision of network services at present. They go beyond the requirements associated with telephony, video-conferencing and services such as LAN-Interconnect, as they combine the element of flexibility with a modular concept for serving different levels of service requirements originating from previously non-existing applications. Truly new applications are still rare in the emerging `Information Society', and the application domain referred to here is providing a true challenge and opportunity to communications satellite systems with their inherent advantages, e.g. flexible geographical coverage.



Current status


Status date

Monday, January 21, 2008 - 12:16