In anticipation of the catastrophic hurricane Harvey, the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' was activated early on the evening of 24 August 2017. This was initiated by the Charter member United States Geological Survey (USGS) on behalf of the Texas Emergency Management Council. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) provided real-time recordings and archive data from the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, which enabled a detailed analysis and an overview of the flood situation. Using these and other satellite data provided by 16 Charter members, the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas is currently working on providing assistance and information to disaster relief personnel on the ground.
"The various recording modes of the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X make it possible to react very flexibly to individual crisis situations," explains André Twele, who, as an Emergency On-Call Officer (ECO) of the Charter at DLR, was tasked with preparing an acquisition plan using available satellite resources in the first hours of activation. "The challenge herein lies in determining possible disaster areas as early as possible from the initially still rough forecast of the hurricane's path to be able to plan the satellite recordings effectively." Read More