UN-backed global satellite to be named after APJ Abdul Kalam

A global satellite for earth observation and disaster risk reduction - GlobalSat for DRR – proposed to be set up under the UN framework, is to be dedicated to late President Dr Abdul Kalam, India's celebrated rocket scientist and former President who died 27 July.

The proposal to launch the satellite was mooted at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held at Sendai in Japan this March, agency reports quoted Milind Pimprikar, chairman of the Montreal, Canada-based CANEUS (CANada-EUrope-US-ASia) Organisation on Space Technologies for Societal Applications, as saying.

The concept was initiated by CANEUS in cooperation with UN agencies, including the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.

UN GlobalSat will provide a common platform that will allow individual nations to share space and data segments that will serve individual nation's disaster management and development needs.

GlobatSat has the same goal as those envisioned by Kalam in his "World Space Vision-2050" of space faring nations joining hands to find solutions to mankind's major problems such as natural disasters, energy and water scarcity, health-care education issues and weather prediction, Pimprikar said.

GlobalSat was proposed in response to the need for a globally interconnected disaster and environmental management system since no single country can afford to develop a complete set of sensors and satellite systems needed for forecasting, monitoring and mitigating disasters like floods, drought, typhoons, earthquakes, wild fires, windstorms, or tidal events, Pimprikar said.

The renaming of Globalsat as `UN Kalam GlobalSat' will inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and space explorers to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and pooling of resources to find low-cost solutions to major problems facing mankind, Pimprikar said.

The recommendations made at the Sendai conference, including the proposal for launching GlobalSat, will be formally adopted by more than 150 world leaders at the UN Session in New York in September.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to attend, he said, adding that Modi has already proposed an Indian initiative for a dedicated satellite for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries.

UN Office for Outer Space Affairs will work out the details that can be addressed and finalised for implementation at the proposed UN-India Workshop in early 2016, he said.

The eventual goal of this satellite, he said, "is to establish a public / private partnership that would create a low-cost, internationally shared data collection and distribution backbone in space with no barriers to entry for participating nations.

Founded in 1999, CANEUS serves to develop a common platform for space technology solutions for disaster management – both natural and man-made. The "GlobalSat for DRR" is a UN-driven global initiative on sharing space technology for disaster risk reduction.