Satellite guardians join search for missing Malaysian plane

A fleet of Earth-monitoring satellites has joined the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, the organisers of the satellite pool said on Wednesday (12/03/2014).

China on Tuesday requested activation of the so-called International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, the organisation said on its website.

Under the agreement, 15 space agencies or national space institutes help emergency or relief efforts by passing on images from satellites flying over the location.

“Satellite imagery is now being employed to search for any evidence of the plane, both before and after it disappeared,” the website said.

“As of 12 March 2014, the search remains ongoing.”

The activation request came from the China Meteorological Administration, it said.

The Charter, which took effect in 2000, has been activated hundreds of times.

It has been mostly used in the aftermath of earthquakes and floods when rescue teams needed to identify badly damaged zones or roads, railways and bridges that are still passable.

It was invoked last November to aid swathes of the Philippines ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan.

(Once activated, space technicians determine which satellites are available and best suited for the task of providing ground radar data or photos.)

(They then send a request to the satellite’s operator, which programmes the orbiter to take pictures as it flies a zone. The data are usually available within 24 hours and are provided for free.) – Sapa-AFP

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