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MARSAT - Help from space for the maritime world

New satellite-based services for higher safety and efficiency in sea travel

From now on, a new company network ensures higher safety and lowered costs in sea travel: in the MARSAT project, five private companies and a research institute work in close cooperation to develop new services for the maritime economy using satellite data. This includes for instance the optimisation of shipping routes, daily ice services or sea floor mappings. Besides the sea travel sector, the offshore industry will also be able to profit from the new services, as well as emergency- and rescue-services.

Modern earth observation satellites allow for near-realtime services

"The newest generation of earth observation satellites, like the Sentinels of the European Copernicus Program, allow for highly precise recordings of high temporal frequency" explains Dr. Michael Nyenhuis, project leader at the DLR Space Administration. "This way, environmental changes and ship positions can be captured timely and accurately." This allows MARSAT to develop new near-realtime services, for instance for the planning of shipping routes in the polar region. These can display the development of pack ice and sea tide information with day precision and thus increase the safety of sea passages. The sensitive sea ecosystem also benefits from the avoided ship damages. Additionally, shipping companies can now better assess the risks: at low danger probability their ships could choose the direct route instead of bypassing the region - and thus reduce costs and save time.

Besides shipping companies, ports also count among the possible users: using satellite data, the position of ships can be determined accurately and integrated into modern guiding systems. This facilitates traffic management and thereby the safety in and around the landing places. Information services about the water conditions, water depth- and sea floor mappings deliver an important basis for planning in the maritime industry, for instance for the construction and operation of offshore windparks. Also, important information for emergency and rescue services can be extracted from the satellite data. This way, life rafts or floating obstacles can be detected and their position can be accurately transmitted.

The lists of satellites the MARSAT services have at hand is long - this includes optical system, for example Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3 or Landsat-8, as well as radar system such as Sentinel-1, which can also work at night or during strong clouds. Further, we also use commercial satellites with the highest spatial resolution available: GeoEye-1, WorldView-1 through -4 and radar data from TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X.



The project partnes in MARSAT are EOMAP GmbH & Co. KG in Seefeld, Drift & Noise Polar Services GmbH in Bremen, SevenCs GmbH in Hamburg and TRENZ GmbH in Bremen, as well as the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics in Bremen/Bremerhaven. Through this network, the small and medium-sized enterprises and the research institute can combine their long-standing experience and competences in the area of satellite services, software development and maritime services and fall back on the existing infrastructure of the project's partners - for example for receiving and processing the data.

After the development, the services are integrated in existing applications of the maritime economy - for instance in pilot- and port services - and realised and tested in cooperation with the users. MARSAT is financed and coordinated by the DLR Space Administration with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy (BMWi) of Germany.

MARSAT is an open network and closely cooperates with users, providers of maritime services and researches. If you are interested, don't hesitate to get in touch with us!