IAF Press Release 05-2009

The MineSeeker Foundation and the International Astronautical Federation announce a collaborative effort in the field of Landmine Stand-off detection

During the 60th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Daejeon, Korea, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the Mineseeker Foundation announced a collaborative effort in the field of landmine stand-off detection using both Space and Airborne systems integrating remote-sensing, telecommunication and geo-localisation technologies.

A preliminary concept of this integrated application was elaborated by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), in collaboration with the Mineseeker Foundation (MF). The IAF has contacted several potential partners among the Federation member organisations. It is now important to involve all relevant expertise to elaborate the system and thoroughly assess its feasibility, on both a technical and an economic standpoint. At last the study will pave the way to subsequent phases of development, prototyping and testing, prior to commercially launching the service. The feasibility study is expected to last about five months, starting in January 2010. A first operational commercial service is planned by August 2011. An enhanced service enabling reliable detection of individual mines is expected to be mature enough for operations by mid-2013.

Landmines still kill or maim civilians every day, even long after conflicts are over. Each year these weapons claim between 15,000 and 20,000 new victims. Because resources (arable land, infrastructure, water, etc.) located within areas suspected of mine contamination cannot be exploited, landmines dramatically hinder the recovery of economies wounded by a conflict. At the current rate, and assuming no additional mines are laid from now on, the UN estimates that it will take 600 years to find and clear the 100 million landmines around the world. Strikingly, a large fraction of suspected lands investigated by traditional methods prove mine free. In other words, the scarce resources of mine action are expended on checking sound land instead of clearing contaminated land. A means to reliably discriminate between mine-contaminated zones and mine-free zones is critically needed. Stand-off detection can be immensely useful to this purpose.

For further information please contact: Philippe Willekens, International Astronautical Federation, 94 bis, Avenue de Suffren 75015 Paris, France.
Tel: +33 1 45 67 42 60

*About the International Astronautical Federation*
The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) is an international non-governmental and non-profit organisation, founded in 1951.

The IAF is composed of space agencies, space companies, societies, associations and institutes. There are currently over 200 members in 47 countries.

The Federation encourages the advancement of knowledge about space and the development and application of space assets for the benefit of humanity. It plays an important role in disseminating information, and in providing a significant worldwide network of experts in the development and utilisation of space.

The IAF organises seminars, symposia and events throughout the year. The focus of activities during 2009 is the management of climate change. The most visible product of the IAF is the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

IAC 2009 gathered more than 4000 space professionals in Daejeon, Republic of Korea between 12-16 October 2009. The IAC exhibition this year dedicated a special focus on Small and Medium companies working in the space field.

Further information can be found on the IAF website at
http://www.iafastro.org