Space applications have evolved to play a significant role in disaster relief by providing services including remote sensing imagery for mitigation and disaster damage assessments; satellite communication to provide access to medical services; positioning, navigation, and timing services; and data sharing. Common issues identified in past disaster response and relief efforts include lack of communication, delayed ordering of actions (eg, evacuations), and low levels of preparedness by authorities during and after disasters. We briefly summarize the Space for Health (S4H) Team Project, which was prepared during the Space Studies Program 2014 within the International Space University. The S4H Project aimed to improve the way space assets and experiences are used in support of public health during disaster relief efforts. We recommend an integrated solution based on nano-satellites or a balloon communication system, mobile self-contained relief units, portable medical scanning devices, and micro-unmanned vehicles that could revolutionize disaster relief and disrupt different markets. The recommended new system of coordination and communication using space assets to support public health during disaster relief efforts is feasible. Nevertheless, further actions should be taken by governments and organizations in collaboration with the private sector to design, test, and implement this system.
- disaster planning
- emergency preparedness