Integrated Space Technologies Operational System (ISTOS) For Combined Space Technology Applications

Objectives

ESA's concept for an Integrated Space Technologies Operational System (ISTOS) Wide Area Network is designed to improve the utilisation of space technologies by end users working in the field of emergency management. However, "integration" in the ISTOS sense means more than just the combined use of space technologies - it also encompasses the integration with complementary terrestrial systems such as disaster information collected by airborne or ground sensors and communications services offered by terrestrial fixed and wireless providers.

Space technologies such as Earth Observation, communications and navigation are uniquely positioned to support organisations involved in all aspects of emergency management. The ability to provide both long term monitoring and warning capabilities, while at the same time being able to rapidly deploy observation and communications assets enables space technologies to support:

  • Disaster Reduction - assessing risk and disseminating information to help reduce those risks;
  • Disaster Mitigation - providing early warning information and communicating that information to people at risk;
  • Disaster Relief - supporting communities in the immediate aftermath of a disaster;
  • Disaster Recovery - on-going assistance to rebuild societies and their infrastructure in the months and years following a disaster. A key feature of the project's plans involves the validation of the Operations Plans and Architecture Models developed during the study with those directly involved in the field.

Challenges

Rather than focus on purely technical aspects the study must also address, financial, legal, regulatory and procedural requirements. Furthermore, study will focus on combining Earth Observation services, Satellite Communications, and navigation with terrestrial infrastructure.

Benefits

The plan of this study is to produce an architectural and operational model for an ISTOS Wide Area Network for emergency management applications. Further benefits include:

  • Improving and rationalising interfaces between users and providers of space resources.
  • Initiating a level of standardisation in ordering and delivery of products and services according to some quality and time criteria.
  • Through technology, supporting the European integration and interoperability between national and regional emergency services.

Features

Plan

The consortium has developed a study plan that ensures that the team members undertake roles and responsibilities within the project that optimise the use of their existing skills and expertise. Thus: Avanti Communications will undertake all work packages associated with ISTOS communications services, ISTOS operations and financing Astrium will perform the tasks requiring an understanding of emergency management users and applications, reviews of existing infrastructure and the space domain technologies that can provide resources to ISTOS end users. EADS Defence and Security Networks will undertake core technology tasks requiring and appreciation of the technology, architecture and implementation of telecommunications systems for public safety, emergency management, and security.

Current status

Conclusions The ISTOS study has identified a wide range of benefits that space-based services can bring to End User organisations working in the field of emergency management. The development of an ISTOS WAN is an opportunity for institutions, Resource Providers and industry to improve emergency management operations and increase the service market by:

  • Improving and rationalising interfaces between users and providers of space resources;
  • Initiating a level of standardisation in ordering and delivery of products and services according to some quality and time criteria;
  • Through technology, supporting the European integration and interoperability between national and regional emergency services.
  • In order to achieve the original objectives of ISTOS, the system should be developed through a phased approach. The Phase 1 activities should focus on providing support to GMES projects through the provision of ISTOS services. However, there are a number of critical actions which must also be undertaken in the short term:
  • Additional Phase 1 activities should focus on establishing an Operationalisation Forum and associated secretariat to prepare for Phase 2.
  • A Critical Technology Programme should also be established to de-risk the Phase 2 implementation activities by prototyping key ISTOS components;

Following the successful conclusion of these actions, the full scale deployment of ISTOS can be pursued:

  • At the conclusion of Phase 1, ISTOS should be established as an independent not-for-profit organization known as the ISTOS Trust;
  • The ISTOS Trust will oversee the Phase 2 activities, including the development of the final, operational system infrastructure, based on the facilities developed in Phase 1.
  • Funding for this Phase will be realised from a range of potential sources including the European Commission, the European Bank and various UN organisations.

The ISTOS study has identified a wide range of potential End User organizations that might benefit from the application of space technologies to the field of disaster management. The challenge now is to develop a system which meets their needs and provides an operational resource that can be called in to protect human life and property whenever a disaster strikes.

Contacts

Status date

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 13:42