Benefits for Humanity: Found at Sea


[ Music ]>>The rescue coordination
center started receiving distress signals.>>The bridge was starting
to fill up with water. The ship was sinking
and got them out on top of the rescue boat.>>Winds up to 60 to 70 knots.>>We started to
separate one by one.>>The wave height
50 to 60 feet.>>Finally I was alone and
no rescue boat or nothing, the rescue boat drifted away.>>It’s freezing out there.>>All I had to do was just
wait and hope some kind of miracle would happen.>>There is almost no chance to
survive in conditions like that. [ Music ]>>AIS, the automatic
identification system, all ships out in the
open oceans are obliged to transmit their
position and their identity and their direction of speed,
heading of speed, etcetera. It’s kind of like air
traffic control for the sea.>>It’s very useful to
help provide assistance to ships in distress.>>First of all to see do
we have assets in the area that could help somebody
in distress. In the days before AIS,
we didn’t even know if there were any vessels
in a particular area where we have an incident.>>There were more
or less invisible to the coastal traffic
administration.>>But as of today, if we have
an incident out in open water, we have the chance to see
what vessels are in the area and could contact them directly
to route them to the position of the distress and in that
way, in a more effective way, rescue more people in
a shorter time frame than we ever have before.>>AIS receiving
stations along the coast, they can only look a certain
distance out into the sea.>>Ships that go out beyond 75
kilometers outside the coast were over the horizon
and invisible to us, but if you think about these
signals going straight, they go maybe 700
kilometers out into space and you know what
circles around the earth about 400 kilometers above us?>>The international
space station. The European space agency
contacted the Norwegian defense research establishment and
gave them the opportunity to mount an AIS receiver onboard
the space station to test out this technology from space. All our calculations indicated
that this should work, but we really did not
know before we switched on the receiver on
the space station. The first of June 2010,
the system was turned on.>>The switch was flipped
and the light came on and we were actually able
to get the first aid in. Yes the instrument works,
we all got very excited and suddenly we could
see a whole world full of ship [inaudible] I would
say a quantum leap really in our ability to look
at global ship traffic.>>It’s like a blind
man starting to see.>>Yeah it was a huge relief
and great satisfaction to see.>>So this brought a whole new
dimension to the monitoring of ship traffic on
the open oceans. Nobody knew how many
ships really are out there at any given time
and suddenly we had, if not the complete picture, then almost the complete
picture.>>On a typical day, the
space station is observing about 30 thousand ships
out on the open ocean.>>I was kind of overwhelmed I
guess by the response this got from the space station
really is an excellent lab for testing this
type of technology.>>This project demonstrates that the international space
station is not just for science and astronauts, but it really
benefits the whole mankind with down to earth applications. [ Music ]>>Based on the AIS, we had
another vessel in the area that we contacted who
continued to the area and they searched together
with the helicopters. Nobody expected to find anybody
surviving in that conditions. They actually spotted
one man in the sea.>>After floating the North
Atlantic Ocean for four hours, I was finally rescued.>>Thanks to AIS data and AIS
data from the space station, this lone survivor was rescued. An absolutely happy
ending for him.>>I’m lucky for technology
that made something that was basically impossible
to survive, possible. [ Music ]
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