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Friday, September 24, 2021

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The technology that breaks through the cloud cover and the storm on K2

One of the founders of the Icelandic Space Agency has mediated the use of so-called SAR satellite images in the search for John Snorri Sigurjónsson and his companions on the mountain K2. He says the technology has not been used before in this type of rescue operation. The part of the mountain where the trail is located has been photographed, and the pictures need neither light nor glory.

The search for John Snorri and his companions, Pakistani national hero Ali Sadpara and Chilean mountaineer Juan Pablo Mohr, has been going on since Saturday. They were last seen at a notorious bottleneck near peak K2 on Friday. The Pakistani army is leading the search, but many are also coming from as many quarters – using all available means.

Fine-tune every inch

A joint statement from the families of the three men and the relatives of the search stated that data from locators carried by the members during the march was used for the search, in addition to which witnesses were interviewed “to create a time frame for the marchers’ location”, as stated in the statement.

It also mentions the use of so-called SAR satellite technology in the search, which has not been done before. With this technology, it is possible to fine-tune “every single centimeter” at the summit of the mountain, despite poor visibility and difficult weather conditions, which repeatedly hindered the search from the air at the beginning of the week. Daniel Leeb, one of the founders of the Icelandic Space Agency, is thanked for his contribution to the project in the statement.

The Icelandic Space Science Institute is a private enterprise that was established a few years ago and has focused on space travel research and experiments in Iceland. Daniel Leeb discussed the institute in a in-depth interview with Vísi this year 1235 .

His role is small compared to the contributions of others

He himself places great emphasis on the fact that his and the Space Science Institute’s role in the search for K2 is very small compared to others involved in it; Pakistani government, military, hikers and more.

“But I am pleased that we have been able to contribute this small talk so that the technology can be used and perhaps contribute to bringing John Snorri and his friends home. But I reiterate that my role is small compared to the achievement that has been made in Pakistan and the people who have offered difficult and dangerous conditions the supplier of K2, “says Daniel in a conversation with Vísi.

But what role has he played in the search in recent days? “It has really been little more than realizing that this technology exists,” says Daniel.

Needs neither light nor honor

He explains that the Space Science Institute has for some time been in contact with the Finnish technology company ICEYE, which has developed satellites that take so-called SAR images. It does not refer to the acronym for Search and rescue,

or search and rescue. in this context, SAR stands for Synthetic Aperture Radar. Artificial surface radar in Icelandic.

“ICEYE has moved certain satellites to certain orbits to form K2. They are using this technology to the fullest and in a way that has not been done before in search and rescue. This will hopefully become more common in the future and perhaps it will be possible to prevent possible tragedies. Basically, this is about taking a picture that does not need light or honor. The images are delivered in this way, even if the cloud obscures the view. So this is a technology that can be useful in a rescue like this. And since we had already contacted ICEYE, I contacted them and asked if this technology could be used in the search. It all happened very fast after that, “says Daniel.

The ball actually rolled so fast that it surprised him. Daniel says that he has brought his ideas about the ICEYE co-operation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that he has finally been contacted by those who lead the search abroad.

“The hikers are from three countries, Pakistan, Iceland and Chile, and all of these nations are contributing to this huge rescue operation. And we have worked with ICEYE to make sure that the right people and the right professionals can use this technology in their search, “says Daniel.

No magic solution

Daniel says that ICEYE has given the Icelandic Space Agency the images taken with the satellites and the agency will pass them on on those who need it. The Institute of Space Science thus mediates the technology and communication between the company and those who are conducting the search.

“In this case, it has been possible to form side K2 there as the hiking trail runs. So this is a fairly large area but the resolution is great and experts can spot the smallest details, “says Daniel.

” There is none there is no doubt that these satellite images have been of great use in search operations. I get it from my direct communication with those who lead the search. However, there is no doubt that technology is limited. Detailed information is available, but this is not a magic bullet either. And this is just one of the many features used in the search. All of these factors combined are the most useful. ”

John Snorri Sigurjónsson has been missing on K2 since Friday. Elia Saikaly

Build on the last listed location

Daniel claims not to have permission to disclose exactly what the photos have shown. He can, however, say that the area that the camera is directly on is based on the location of the trio that was last recorded.

“I know other companies have offered their satellites, provided that visibility improves. But it has been cloudy. And the only satellite images that have been used are therefore the SAR images. “

Daniel points out that the International Space Agency’s communication with ICEYE was originally related to research related to the moon and Mars here in Iceland.

“It has been an honor to be able to use the relationships we have established over the years to help this search. We send John Snorri and his companions, and his family and the brave seekers, our respect and positive influences, “says Daniel.

” I is not an Icelander but I have lived here and worked for years. My wife and daughters are Icelanders. We all know that when an Icelander achieves something outside the country, the whole nation rejoices and, in the same way, when an Icelander gets into trouble, the nation stands behind him. The nation is a family that joins hands and helps. And I think that’s a beautiful and important part of this story. ”

John Snorri and his companions have been missing for a week now. The Minister of the Interior in the area announced on Twitter today that a military plane with a thermal camera would search at half past ten Pakistani time. It was stated earlier this week that the base camp in the mountain would be kept open until Saturday. The Pakistani authorities have announced that they will devote two months to search operations in the mountains.

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