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Satellites and drones can help people living in the Arctic

Posted September 1, 2016

A new report just released by DTU presents for the first time an overall picture of the opportunities Denmark has to establish space infrastructure comprising satellites and drones in the Arctic.

The report shows that satellites and drones could provide the nucleus of a common infrastructure for civil society and Defence Command Denmark in the Arctic.


The Arctic is becoming increasingly important
In his recent report on Danish security and foreign policy, Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen directly recommends that Denmark focus on its role as an Arctic superpower. Defence Command Denmark also released an analysis this summer in which it prepares to handle more activities in the Arctic. In particular, these include asserting the Kingdom’s sovereignty, increasing monitoring of traffic and the environment, and performing search and rescue operations in the region.

Potential for Defence Command and society
In order to conduct its activities efficiently, Defence Command Denmark needs an up-to-date overview of the region, so it can send its units to the correct positions and so that units can communicate with each other.

“But much of what Defence Command will need in the Arctic is the same as what local authorities, businesses and citizens are seeking—such as better mapping and navigation, where satellites and drones can also contribute,” says the report’s author, Senior Scientist Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen from DTU Space.

Satellites and drones could therefore provide the nucleus of a common infrastructure for Defence Command and civil society. For example, dedicated communication satellites in orbits around the poles could provide broadband communications to meet the needs of both the military and civilians.

“We should view investment in space-based infrastructure in the Arctic on an equal footing with investment in infrastructure such as airports, roads and harbours. It will also be an investment in future growth and value creation in Greenland, which greatly needs new business opportunities,” says Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen.

Invitation to forge new partnerships
The report is part of a project in which DTU Space is looking at the possibility of using satellites and drones in the Arctic which are funded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.

The report was presented at a meeting with over 50 of the contributors from organisations, government agencies, ministries, research groups, business interests and Defence Command Denmark. According to Niels Andersen, an Executive Board member for DTU Space with special responsibility for businesses and regulatory authorities, DTU Space does not view the report as the end of the project.

“We see the report as an invitation to forge new partnerships in relation to satellites and drones in the Arctic,” he says.

Source: DTU

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