KARI Joins International Disaster Charter Group

UKSA PR — Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), part of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), has become the newest member of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ (The Charter).

The Charter is a joint initiative for providing emergency response satellite data free of charge to those affected by disasters anywhere in the world. Charter members put space technology at the service of authorities in the event of a major disaster, providing earth observation data of the affected areas to assist rescue and disaster management efforts. Each member agency has demonstrated a commitment to use space technology to serve humankind when it is in most need of assistance – when disasters of both natural and human origins strike world’s communities or wreak havoc on the environment.

KARI President Dr. Seungjo Kim signed the Charter on 7 July and said, “We are proud to have KARI join other agencies around the world in supporting the Disaster Charter, particularly since the Charter has recently proven the relevance of space in alleviating human suffering caused by natural and technological disasters,” said KARI President Dr. Seungjo Kim.

Dr. Alice Bunn, current Chair of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ from the UK Space Agency, said, “The Charter represents some of the best of human ingenuity and cooperation. We are extremely pleased to welcome KARI as a full member of the Charter, and to recognize their commitment and dedication to the welfare of those countries most affected by major disasters.”

KARI sent the formal letter of intent to participate in the Charter last year and the Board of the Charter approved the application unanimously earlier this year. KARI will provide data from the Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite (KOMPSAT-2) as a part of the International Charter activities.

“The Charter is an excellent example of international cooperation in the field of natural disasters, as it has recently been demonstrated in connection with the tsunami in Japan and severe snow on east coast of Korea,” Director of Satellite Operations & Applications Division, Dr Yougsik Chun commented after the ceremony.

The European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES) initiated the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ following the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) joined the Charter on 20 October 2000. Other members currently include the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Argentine Space Agency (CONAE), the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the UK Space Agency and the US Geological Survey (USGS).