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ESA to partner with SINTEF Ocean on smart and autonomous shipping and environmental monitoring initiatives

ESA has signed a Memorandum of Intent involving future collaboration with the coordinators of SINTEF Ocean. The alliance comes together with a view to analyse, develop and implement space enabled innovative applications solutions and services in the context of environmental protection, transition to shipping 4.0 and other applications related to the needs of maritime stakeholders (such as maritime authorities, coast guards, shipping operators, ports, service providers, etc.).

The on-going digitalisation, development and large-scale implementation of programmes in the context of smart and autonomous shipping and environmental monitoring provide a unique opportunity for developing applications and services leveraging on space assets and terrestrial assets. This requires cross-functional expertise to transform today’s capabilities for tomorrow’s needs.

The joint effort aims to strengthen space-based applications with the following common objectives: 

  1. Support the emergence of smart and autonomous shipping space-based applications based on advanced technologies such as advanced Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) and digital connectivity; and 
  2. Support the emergence of new space-based applications for improved maritime safety, coastal monitoring and environmental sustainability at sea and in coastal areas. 

“ESA’s participation in the agreement fits well with the technical expertise in the agency’s Business Applications programme and it will be instrumental to support future initiatives in the areas of blue and green economy, fostering utilization of digital technologies in support of the Green Deal and of the shipping sector digital transformation”, says Rita Rinaldo, Head of ESA Institutional Projects at ESA Space Solutions.

"SINTEF Ocean conducts world-leading research within the field of autonomous ships, and we hold a unique position that brings together users and suppliers. One of the main criteria for succeeding in developing safe and green maritime transport and operations is to build co-working relationship between research, education, authorities and industry. The collaboration with ESA is an important extension of our collaboration network and we are looking forward to join efforts to innovate and develop technology for maritime applications, based on space based technology", says Kay Fjørtoft, senior researcher for SINTEF Ocean's Energy and Transportation department.

The agreement envisages knowledge sharing, ideas and lessons learned and aims to leverage the relevant resources, expertise and facilities to ensure the success of the common goals.

 

About SINTEF Ocean

For more than 70 years, SINTEF has developed solutions and innovation for society and customers all over the world and has become one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations. Their purpose is to conduct research and innovation relating to the ocean space for national and international industry. SINTEF Ocean's ambition is to continue Norway's leading position in marine engineering and bio marine research.

About ESA Space Solutions

ESA Space Solutions is the go to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. ESA Space Solutions is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, ESA Business Applications Ambassadors and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from €50k to €2M and supports everything from technology transfer, business incubation, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects.

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Meet ESA Space Solutions Network

When you interact with any part of ESA Space Solutions, you get access to the largest space innovation network in the world.

ESA Space Solutions is the part of ESA that supports European start-ups and SMEs to develop commercial solutions across society using space technologies and data. In this new series, we’re going to introduce you to the great teams across our network and share their highlights and advice. But first, here’s an overview of the support we offer entrepreneurs across the 22 ESA Member States.

“We aim that services and products based on European space assets will delight people so much that they become willing customers for successful businesses. Our aspiration is that ESA, through ESA Space Solutions and with our partners in Europe and worldwide, can help this dream to become a reality,” shares Nick Appleyard, Head of ESA Space Solutions.

“Our partners and team help to make ventures fly by adding financial, technical and business support as we all need more Space!” highlights Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA’s Innovation and Ventures Office.

Our vision is to improve life on Earth through solutions powered by space. Some of the best ideas for doing this come from individuals and small companies, but it isn’t easy to convert innovative ideas into commercially successful businesses. So, our network across Europe offers entrepreneurs all sorts of assistance, including incubation and funding. You don’t need to travel far or learn a new language to get our support. This is ‘ESA Near Me’.

What we do

Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe to develop businesses using satellite applications and space technologies to improve everyday life. We provide guidance. We help to de-risk new businesses so they can attract investment and we generate opportunities to apply space technology in new sectors or markets.

Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA’s Innovation and Ventures Office, explains: “We’re passionate about innovation and leveraging space technology and data. Our partners and team help to make ventures fly by adding financial, technical and business support as we all need more space!”

Funding, business and technical support

In our network, we have 22 ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) in over 60 locations that help entrepreneurs turn space-connected ideas into commercial companies through a 2-year incubation programme. Over 1000 start-ups have already benefitted from ESA business incubation, 378+ technology transfers and over 700 million Euro invested in 2000+ businesses invested in 2000+ businesses, also with the support provided by ESA Technology Broker Network and ESA Business Applications Ambassadors

We also provide zero equity funding, ranging from €50,000 to €2 million, to support space technology transfer, business incubation, Feasibility Studies and large-scale Demonstration Projects. In addition, our ESA Investment Forum offers members of the community of ESA Space Solutions a way to talk directly with experienced investors. 

When you interact with any part of ESA Space Solutions, you get access to the largest space innovation network in the world. All of our network is seamlessly connected, with local partners ready to help you. If you want to know more about how we can help turn your ideas into commercial reality take a look at our partners pages and visit us here.

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Business Incubation - a real powerhouse for entrepreneurship

Human interaction is one of the core attributes of the incubation process – for companies incubated, for alumni and for the many organisations, businesses and investors who interact with them.

ESA has long been a proponent of the incubation approach for nurturing entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. It’s nearly 20 years since we initiated the ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) to inspire and support them to turn their potent ideas into fully-fledged businesses. 

And then, in March 2020, their world changed as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to work from home, like so many others across our ESA Space Solutions network.

A year or so later, we’re all looking forward with hope to a time when we can get back to face-to-face working on a regular basis. None more so than our entrepreneurs, because human interaction is one of the core attributes of the incubation process – for companies currently being incubated, for alumni who remain a valued part of the ESA Space Solutions network and for the many organisations, businesses and investors who interact with them. 

Why physical presence is the key ingredient in incubation

Much is made of the funding and support – both technical and business – offered as part of incubation, which are important elements enshrined in the ESA BIC approach. Although these are not the only things that make up incubation. If that were the case, we would have no need for physical locations across our 22 Member States; instead, we could simply run everything remotely. 

A remote service that describes itself as an ‘incubator’ is, in truth, not providing ‘incubation’ at all. ‘Virtual incubation’ is a misnomer. I’m not arguing against provision of remote support systems, especially for companies that cannot, for whatever reason, base themselves at an incubator. Maybe they have potential customers and/or suppliers close to their current location or can’t uproot their families. We already provide various kinds of support for these entrepreneurs and will continue to evaluate and evolve our offerings for them in future. 

There is simply no way that a virtual setup can replicate the incredibly valuable spontaneous interactions that happen when you’re in the same place.

However, one key element of incubation, as we know from our two decades of running ESA BICs, is the physical interaction between all the parties involved; for example, during training or at events. What we also know is that incubation is about entrepreneurs supporting each other, which often arises out of unplanned conversations. Peer learning among tenants remains one of the greatest benefits of business incubation, as also recognised by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). There is simply no way that a virtual setup can replicate the incredibly valuable spontaneous interactions that happen when you’re in the same place. 

Some of the start-ups we work with also benefit from use of fabrication laboratories and other physical facilities provided at, or via, the ESA BICs, which they simply would not be able to access otherwise. Those cannot be provided virtually, of course.

Whether or not they are trying to take advantage of start-ups, organisations that have no physical presence but instead offer remote training courses, email introductions to potential vendors, and so on, are not truly offering ‘incubation’. If a remote solution is what a start-up needs, for whatever reason, then bravo! Start-ups can be vulnerable and some entrepreneurs are not always very business-savvy just yet, so it is imperative that we label things correctly. Paying a third party to provide you with merely training and networking services is not incubation.

Staying true to the incubation definition

True incubators are part of a regional economic development strategy and ESA BICs follow the definition of a third-generation business incubator where besides shared office, lab facilities and in-house business support, the access to a professional service network is also offered. ESA extends that definition in that the entrepreneurs produce global solutions using European space assets, such as satellite data, hardware or software that was originally designed for space applications. At the same time, their success provides huge regional benefits, such as employment and increased economic activity, which is why our incubators are co-funded by regional funders.

We know that the pandemic has proved many aspects of business can be done successfully in a virtual way. However, incubation is about creating a start-up community where people are encouraged to interact and share knowledge and resources, and support each other. The way we run our incubation may alter in future in terms of the facilities and events. Also keeping in touch with our alumni community is something where a virtual environment can definitely support beyond the conventional way of social media platforms. The concept of creating a fertile starting culture to provide a powerhouse for entrepreneurship through dedicated incubation in physical ESA BICs will remain.

Cornelis (Niels) Eldering, Head of Section ESA Space Solutions

 

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS

ESA Space Solutions is the go to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. ESA Space Solutions is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, ESA Business Applications Ambassadors and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from €50k to €2M and supports everything from technology transfer, business incubation, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects.

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‘Eye’ of Athens – the newest ESA telescope will hunt for objects of universal scale

What happens near a black hole? How does ordinary matter come together in the large-scale structures we see today? How do black holes grow and shape the universe and what is the relationship between these processes? 

All these questions will be answered very soon by the Athena advanced telescope for high-energy astrophysics. “Athena will be a state-of-the-art observatory that will provide a significant leap forward in scientific capabilities compared with previous X-ray missions, and will address fundamental open questions in astrophysics,” says Alvaro Giménez, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency (ESA).

Austrian RHP Technology GmbH stands ready to contribute to ESA’s second ‘Large-class’ science mission. A total of six test parts have already been manufactured, which RHP Technology GmbH conducted in cooperation with AAC Aerospace and Advanced Composites and FOTEC Forschungs-und Technologietransfer GmbH.

The prototype is a 3D-printed and partly processed version of what may someday become the ‘eye’ of the ESA X-ray telescope Athena. This test structure was produced by an ESA-led 3D project to evaluate a promising method called ‘Plasma Metal Deposition’. 

“The project’s goal was to evaluate the technology’s ability to produce space hardware and  components larger than 0.5m,” explains ESA materials engineer Laurent Pambaguian. Dr. Erich Neubauer, Managing Director & Owner of RHP Technology GmbH says: “More than 80% of material is wasted by using a traditional method of manufacturing; which is typically milling from a block. By using our Plasma Metal Deposition technology, we were able to demonstrate a significant material and cost saving”. 

Inside the 3D printer for large parts (Image credit: RHP Technology)

“We examined the entire process chain, including subsequent heat treatment and post-processing, as well as 3D printing, using titanium alloys either as metal particles or as wire material. The result has demonstrated good mechanical properties and finishing, signifying that we are capable to advance the technology, including the investigation of alternative materials.” 

Plasma metal deposition is a candidate for manufacturing large-scale components in the future, such as the Athena mission optical bench, which will be the most complex part ever printed in titanium. 

In a complex structure with many deep pockets tapering to a maximum height of 30 cm, the optical bench aligns and secures around 750 mirror modules. The overall shape must be accurate to within a few ten micrometers – or thousandths of a centimetre. “RHP demonstrated that large 3D parts can be printed for space applications. In the future this technology can be used for applications on Earth such as industrial, aeronautics or automotive applications,” says Susanne Katzler Fuchs from Brimatech, the Technology Transfer Broker for ESA Space Solutions in Austria.

When ESA's Athena satellite is launched in 2031, it will be 10-100 times deeper than in previous X-ray missions to observe the hottest, high-energy celestial objects. 

 

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS

ESA Space Solutions is the go to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. ESA Space Solutions is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, ESA Business Applications Ambassadors and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from €50k to €2M and supports everything from technology transfer, business incubation, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects.

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Real estate lawyers use satellite imagery to save time and money

 Orbital Witness is helping to cut costs and paperwork for real estate lawyers by using historic high resolution satellite imagery (Image credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock)

Property tech start-up Orbital Witness is bringing a new way of thinking to property transactions. The London-based company won ‘IT Product of the Year’ at the British Legal Technology Awards 2020 in November with a unique product, developed in collaboration with ESA Space Solutions.

Orbital Witness’s hunch that property due diligence was trapped in the past (slow, costly, and an ‘indemnity hot potato’) turned out to be correct. With the support of ESA Space Solutions, the team has now created a platform for real estate lawyers to review and understand property risks with a much higher degree of insight and efficiency than has previously been possible.  

Time travel for real estate

Many questions in real estate law have a historic dimension but until now there’s been no easy way for a real estate lawyer to ‘look back in time’ and make enquiries relating to the past. Lawyers have had no choice but to carry out lengthy investigative processes or, on occasion, manually acquire aerial photography.

Orbital Witness now arms users with detailed historic information at the outset of a property transaction, using satellite imagery archives for a historic overview.

“Orbital Witness uses archives of very high-resolution (sub-1m) optical satellite imagery with enough clarity for real estate professionals to be able to spot important details such as a change of use at a site, a structural change to a property, or a boundary movement,” says Fausto Vieira, Technical Officer at ESA.

“The space added value of this satellite imagery provides the first standardised view for real estate professionals to visualise and give a reliable legal indication of the historic development of a site. It’s doubly impressive as this platform has the power to aggregate data from multiple sources.”

The pilot demonstration in collaboration with ESA Space Solutions saw the successful integration of satellite imagery archives and property datasets (such as contextual information sourced from places such as HM Land Registry) into a production-ready real estate intelligence platform. 

Example of archives of historic satellite imagery being displayed alongside property boundaries. (Image credit: Orbital Witness)

“This has the potential to reduce the cost and turnaround time it takes for property lawyers to deliver accurate and immediate insights to clients,” says Will Pearce, Co-Founder, Orbital Witness.  “Lawyers can finally start spending time on higher-value advisory work instead of lengthy, paper based due diligence.” 

Orbital Witness’ vision is to eventually build a ‘Universal Risk Rating’ for all types of property transactions – a solution that has the potential to automate due diligence for property transactions. 

“It’s a revolution in common sense where access to property information is front-loaded and simplified so anyone interested in real estate can get a clear picture of a property before spending significant amounts of time or money,” says Pearce. 

Orbital Witness, also an ESA BIC alumnus, is already at a commercial phase with a range of first customers adopting the product even before the end of the project. An extension to the project is currently being prepared, expanding the reach of the application to insurance and surveying sectors.

 

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS

ESA Space Solutions is the go to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. ESA Space Solutions is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, ESA Business Applications Ambassadors and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from €50k to €2M and supports everything from technology transfer, business incubation, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects.

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ESA competition to boost advanced mining solutions for Earth and space

In space, autonomous and agile mining machines could be used to extract deposits economically and sustainably, reducing the cost of transporting mining machinery from Earth to the mining site.

The future of space exploration depends on humanity’s ability to extract resources in space because it won’t be possible to transport everything we need from Earth. To help prepare the way, a new ESA Space Resources Competition will support teams to develop services for mining on Earth that are also relevant to future use in space.

In-situ resource utilisation (ISRU) will be key to supplying future space explorers with food, shelter, energy, water and air. Although ISRU is a futuristic concept, it has great potential for accelerating key technologies on Earth. 

Among these ISRU requirements is mining. Mining on Earth and in space share similar aims and face similar challenges. As a result, ESA Space Solutions will provide up to €200,000 per team through a new Space Resources Competition for the development of new mining services to be exploited on Earth that could then be used in space. Examples include minimising the use of water, optimising remote and autonomous operations, precision mining using agile machinery and use of renewable energy.

Developing mining solutions based on solar energy will be a requirement for space, but would also make mining on Earth more cost efficient and reduce emissions.

Using space resources for exploration could save between €54 billion and €135 billion up to 2045, while the space resources industry is expected to generate a market revenue of €73 billion to €170 billion, according to the Luxembourg Space Agency. The spill over benefits from the technology and knowledge gains are forecast to be around €2.5 billion over 50 years.1

Rita Rinaldo, Head of Partner-Led and Thematic Initiatives at ESA Space Solutions said: “We know that mining processes on Earth should be improved, not least to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Importantly, some of the challenges and opportunities for terrestrial mining are similar to the ones we will face in space. That’s why this competition focuses on development of new mining services for both environments, not solely for space.”

Reducing the use of water in mining 

Reducing water usage has become a key sustainability challenge for mining operations. On Earth, mining uses considerable amounts of water, reducing the levels of ground water, depleting surface water and causing pollution to local rivers. In space, water is a rare and highly sought-after resource, so space mining equipment should not rely on water at all. 

Perfecting remote and autonomous operations 

Autonomous and remotely-controlled operations already play a part in digging, drilling, excavating and transporting materials, reducing risk and making it easier to do tasks in inaccessible locations. In space, using autonomous robots for prospecting, exploration and mining will limit the need for personnel and reduce the amount of supplies required. Total automation, with fully sensitive and adaptable systems, will benefit both.

 Reducing water usage has become a key sustainability challenge for mining operations. In space water is so rare that mining equipment should not rely on water at all.

Using light, agile and precise mining equipment

Mining often involves large machinery moving great volumes of earth to extract valuable materials, which is costly on Earth and will be impossible in space. In future, precise cutting, blasting and in-mine processing techniques could accurately target the ore and leave the waste behind, with small, agile mining machines used to extract the deposit economically and sustainably. New remote sensing techniques for prospecting and effective techniques for processing would also be beneficial.

Powering mining machinery using renewable energy

Mining operations have high energy demands but often take place in remote locations, where it is expensive to connect to power grids and in space that would be impossible. Solar could provide cost-efficient, reliable energy supplies and decrease emissions. For mining in space, solar arrays will need to be manoeuvrable, easy to deploy, efficient, light and robust, and ideally manufactured in space using safe materials readily available in situ.

More about ESA’s Space Resources Competition:

ESA’s Space Resources Competition opens on 19 April 2021 and has a closing date of 30 June 2021. For more details about the competition and how to apply, visit this page. The webinar to present this competition will take place at 11:00 CEST on 14 April 2021. To join the webinar, register here.

Note:
1Opportunities for Space Resources Utilization, Future Markets & Value Chains; Luxembourg Space Agency; December 2018

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS

ESA Space Solutions is the go to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. ESA Space Solutions is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, ESA Business Applications Ambassadors and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from €50k to €2M and supports everything from technology transfer, business incubation, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects.

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ESA BIC Estonia incubatee wins ESA BIC Challenge at Paris Space Week

Paris Space Week took place virtually for the first time this month. The exhibition provided a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on European space-related start-ups via the ESA BIC Challenge and to present the ESA Space Solutions network.

ESA BIC Nord France, in partnership with ESA Space Solutions, organised the ESA BIC Challenge, which took place on 9 March. This gave a chance for space-based start-ups to pitch to a jury made up of representatives from ESA Space Solutions, ESA Phi-Lab, ESA BIC Bavaria and ASTech Paris Region. Ten European start-ups presented their solutions in front of the jury and trade participants attending the show, providing the start-ups with an ideal opportunity to gain some visibility. 

Paris Space Week, and especially the ESA BIC Challenge, brought us recognition, together with a positive emotional boost and the PR we need during our intensive sales activities,” adds Simon Litvinov.

The jury decided to award first place to the ESA BIC Estonia incubatee Precision Navigation Systems. CEO Simon Litvinov and his start-up seduced the jury on three main criteria: the originality of the innovation, the business opportunities and the presentation. Precision Navigation Systems is building sustainable global navigation satellite system (GNSS) infrastructure and correction services. Its main product, Stargate RTK, provides GNSS corrections for robotics, drones and IoT applications.

Stargate RTK aggregates multiple GNSS public and commercial correction services and provides access to them through a single interface. In addition, Stargate RTK provides value-added data tailoring services for innovative market applications such as unconventional protocols and data format support, and GNSS observation upsampling.

The benefits of ESA BIC incubation

Precision Navigation Systems have benefited from incubation at ESA BIC Estonia as it enabled the start-up to grow the business while it developed the program. “During the ESA BIC Estonia incubation, we came a long way and even had to pivot our business model at one point. ESA BIC gave us the support we needed, providing credibility, funding and access to mentors and the ESA network,” says Simon Litvinov, CEO of Precision Navigation Systems. 

Precision Navigation Systems main product, Stargate RTK, provides GNSS correctionsfor robotics, drones and IoT applications.

Being announced as the ESA BIC Challenge 2021 winner will strengthen the Estonian start-up’s position in the space sector. “Paris Space Week, and especially the ESA BIC Challenge, brought us recognition, together with a positive emotional boost and the PR we need during our intensive sales activities,” adds Simon Litvinov. 

Presenting the ESA Space Solutions Network

Paris Space Week also provided an opportunity to present the world’s largest ecosystem for space-related start-ups, which is led by ESA. ESA BIC Nord France organised a 45-minute session dedicated to displaying the role of ESA in space entrepreneurship, with a focus on what ESA Space Solutions offers. Three ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) – ESA BIC Bavaria, ESA BIC Northern Germany and ESA BIC Nord France – illustrated the strength of this innovative space ecosystem by explaining how they support start-ups in their region. Finally, the Earth observation department of ESA, ESA Phi-Lab, highlighted how it accelerates the business of start-ups using Earth observation data. 

 

 

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS

ESA Space Solutions is the go-to-place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. Our programme is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from 50KEuro to 2MEuro and supports everything from space technology transfer, early-stage incubation programs, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects. 

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European Space Agency signs Memorandum of Intent with Public Safety Communication Europe

Public Safety Communication Europe (PSCE) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) to support the utilisation of satellite applications for Public Safety.

ESA and PSCE will work together under the new MoI towards establishing interoperable public safety communications systems.

The MoI will support the emergence of space-based applications in the Public Safety domain such as public safety services relying on secure mobile broadband communication solutions. These include applications within disaster preparedness, response and resilience, situational awareness, assessments of damages, navigation-based services for tracking and coordinating rescue forces on-site and for emergency vehicles.

"ESA Space Solutions and the 4S Strategic Programme Line will support through this agreement the emergence of solutions making use of secure satellite communications for institutional Public Safety user communities. This can be achieved as of today through existing satellite telecommunications infrastructures. In the future it will be possible to make use of new and innovative infrastructures with enhanced capabilities. Early pilots and demonstrations will showcase the unique benefits granted by satellites to the user communities and early adopters", says Rita Rinaldo, ESA

"The cooperation with ESA will help to explore complementary solutions that will contribute to cover capability gaps and needs for public safety. It is of extreme importance to improve public safety communication systems with cutting-edge and rapidly deployable solutions that will facilitate PPDR missions", explains Marie-Christine Bonnamour, PSCE.

The cooperation between ESA and PSCE will be activated as a first step through PSCE participation in the ongoing user studies on "Satellite Applications for Public Safety".

PSCE will contribute to the identification of the needs of public safety stakeholders such as emergency services, fire brigades and law enforcement.

About PSCE

The purpose of Public Safety Communication Europe forum is to foster excellence in the development and use of public safety communication and information management systems and to support public safety organizations (users), industry and research in exchanging on challenges, best practices, in developing roadmaps as well as in sharing knowledge from research activities.

Our organization aims to innovate in the field of public safety, improving the safety of European citizens as well as responders In Europe and in the rest of the world. Our expertise has positioned PSCE as a key enabler for identifying capability gaps, gathering practitioners’ requirements and facilitating solutions developed by industry as well as research and perfectly adapted to the needs.

For more information, please visit www.psc-europe.eu

About ESA and the Telecommunications and Integrated Applications Directorate

The European Space Agency is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

The Telecommunications and Integrated Applications Directorate (TIA) supports innovation to boost the competitiveness of European industry in the global space market. This involves a wide range of activities, from space-based technology, systems, product for telecommunications development to the down-to-Earth application of space-based services. It also calls for engagement with a wide range of industrial, academic and institutional partners.

TIA’s ESA Space Solutions initiative and 4S Strategic Programme lines are combining their efforts to support European and Canadian industry advancing the utilisation of space assets like telecommunications. The 4S Strategic Programme Line targets the “Space Systems for Safety and Security” and supports security applications of space related services and products.  

ESA Space Solutions is the go-to-place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. Our programme is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from 50KEuro to 2MEuro and supports everything from space technology transfer, early-stage incubation programs, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects.

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More Inspirational Women in the ESA Space Solutions Network

In the second part of our celebration of female entrepreneurs in the month of International Women’s Day, we introduce you to three additional women who have founded businesses incubated at the ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) in Germany. From medical devices and flow management solutions to secure transactions, their innovations are making a real difference. Read about four further female entrepreneurs from the ESA Space Solutions network in Germany here.

Kumovis

Miriam Haerst, co-CEO and co-founder of Kumovis, and her co-founders

Kumovis focuses on 3D printing medical devices with high-performance and biodegradable polymers. For example, its 3D-printing technology allows hospitals and medtech manufacturers to economically 3D print individualised implants and small or industrial batches of surgical instruments. 

Miriam Haerst is the co-CEO and co-founder of Kumovis. “Our main challenge was to develop a market-ready product with limited resources and to showcase a successful approach. By focusing on the lessons learned instead of failures, the team kept improving and launched the 3D-printing system Kumovis R1 in 2019”, says Miriam Haerst.

Vectoflow

Katharina Kreitz is the Co-founder of Vectoflow, which is located in the ESA BIC in Oberpfaffenhofen, close to the company’s supersonic wind tunnel.

Using 3D printing combined with smart software solutions, Vectoflow develops customised flow measurement systems that match perfectly to the customer’s application and deliver reliable results even under harsh and difficult conditions. Katharina Kreitz is the Co-founder of Vectoflow, which is located in the ESA BIC in Oberpfaffenhofen, close to the company’s supersonic wind tunnel. “For predominantly hardware companies, cash positivity is a challenge. However, except for a small seed funding round, the company is completely bootstrapped and has been cash positive since our second year. It was, and still is, a big challenge to grow without venture capital money, but we’ve proved it can be done”, shares Katharina Kreitz.

Blackpin 

Blackpin CEO and Founder Sandra Jörg. After being hosted at ESA BIC IHK Reutlingen, the company was nicknamed “The start-up of Baden-Württemberg” by Thomas Strobel, German Minister for Digitalisation

Blackpin has developed a secure digital transaction platform for European organisations, based on mobile messaging under very high German GDPR security standards. Its CEO and Founder Sandra Jörg previously worked as a strategic consultant and coach, but had no network or business contacts when she arrived in Southern Germany. Nevertheless, after being hosted at ESA BIC IHK Reutlingen, the company was nicknamed “the flagship start-up of Baden Württemberg” at the Stuttgart Security Congress by Thomas Strobel, German Minister for Digitalisation. 

The challenge that Sandra faced was to put together a good team in a very short time, with the same values that she lived by and who covered all the important areas of expertise. She was looking for people with international know-how, innovative strength, speed, high motivation and commitment. Finding such a team was not easy, especially in some regions. However, Sandra proved that if you are well supported, it is possible. Today, Blackpin’s international team has 35 employees.

Conclusion 

We applaud these women for their innovation and the continuing growth of their companies. If you are an entrepreneur with a great idea using space assets, get in touch to find out how ESA Space Solutions can help you.

 

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS

ESA Space Solutions is the go-to-place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. Our programme is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from 50KEuro to 2MEuro and supports everything from space technology transfer, early-stage incubation programs, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects. 

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Inspirational Women in the ESA Space Solutions Network

International Women’s Day has been celebrated all over the world this month and we did not want to miss the chance to shine a light on the incredible women who are thriving in the space entrepreneurship arena. Here are some of the female founders of businesses incubated at the ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) in Germany, to give you a flavour of the many women-led start-ups founded as part of the ESA Space Solutions Network. Prepare to be inspired! 

Astronautin

Astronautin is composed entirely of female entrepreneurs: Claudia Kessler, Emma Tepe and Inka Helmke (from left to right).

Astronautin GmbH is a commercial human spaceflight company located in Bremen as part of ESA BIC Northern Germany. Based on its vision to bring the first German woman into space, Astronautin’s space portfolio focusses on services for women, offering space training to the public, corporations and organisations. Its leadership training courses are based on elements from astronaut training, while its empowerment workshops, including rocket science and hands-on space experience, are used to bring women to the top, not only in space but also in society and economy.

Claudia Kessler, Astronautin’s CEO said, “The greatest challenge we had to overcome was – and still is – starting a business based on personal experiences at the beginning of the COVID crisis. We are still in the process of overcoming this by offering online formats like bar camps, deep dives and online trainings combined with an interactive experience in the form of our ‘space experience’ packages, which are mailed to participants before the training sessions.”

Planblue

Hannah Brocke is the co-founder and COO of Planblue. The team is building a global seafloor database for both conservation and commercial applications (COVID disclaimer: This group photo has been taken before COVID19 spread).

Planblue develops ‘underwater satellites’ that are being used to build up a global seafloor database to enable the sustainable use and conservation of our ocean’s resources, while fostering the Blue Economy. Hannah Brocke, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO), has been working on commercial solutions to protect the oceans, since 2013. She is actively engaging with well-known company incubators, including continuous engagement with ESA BIC Northern Germany.

She describes her greatest challenge as twofold: “On the one hand I need to fully understand our company’s current and future needs, and on the other hand I need to match these needs at the right time to team building, infrastructure, strategic partners and funds. I can remember one particular moment when we urgently needed access to a testing facility, which we could not afford at that time. I solved this issue by connecting the right partners and acquiring the necessary public funds.” 

Valispace

Louise Lindblad is the co-founder and COO of Valispace. The team is developing a browser-based collaboration platform for engineers who are building complex hardware

Valispace is a start-up incubated at ESA BIC Northern Germany, where the team is developing a browser-based collaboration platform for engineers who are building complex hardware, such as satellites, rockets or fusion reactors. Co-founder and COO Louise Lindblad has a background in satellite systems engineering and worked across different space organisations and companies.

In the beginning, one of Valispace’s biggest challenges was to convince big enterprise customers to buy software for their core engineering activities from a small start-up team. Louise’s team persuaded them by suggesting new ideas for how to solve problems, as well as with their level of expertise. “As we have grown the team from 3 to 30 people, we have matured as a company and have faced other challenges inherent to starting a company, like setting up internal processes, hiring the best talent and fundraising”, explains Louise Lindblad. 

Ajuma 

Ajuma founder Annette Barth promoted the company by entering competitions, gaining valuable media coverage.

Ajuma developed the UV-Bodyguard, a wearable device that combines UV measurement and satellite data to help people avoid sunburn, reduce their risk of developing skin cancer and monitor vitamin D levels. Founder Annette Barth MBA is a psychologist with international experience in sales, innovation and product management and the company is supported by ESA BIC Bavaria.

On its journey to bring the UV-Bodyguard to market, Ajuma’s main difficulty was gaining enough visibility to attract its first paying customers, which is crucial to short-term financing and long-term commercial success. “The way we solved it was reaching out to people – participating in different competitions like the Copernicus Masters, German Aerospace Center’s Health, Energy and Environment Challenge [which Ajuma won in 2019] and the international sports trade fair ISPO Brandnew Award in Munich, which we won as one of 10 start-ups in 2021. These competitions helped us to gain huge media coverage and get known by a wider audience within Germany”, says Annete Barth.

Find out more 

These amazing women deserve great credit for the creation and growth of their companies. At ESA Space Solutions, we are also proud of the work that the ESA BICs did to support them on their journeys, including establishing their online presence and building their online marketing funnels, growing their networks and getting support from project managers and mentors. You can read about other female founders supported by ESA Space Solutions here.

And if you are an entrepreneur with a great idea for a product or service that uses space assets in any way, find out how ESA Space Solutions and the ESA BIC network across ESA Member States can support you.

 

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS

ESA Space Solutions is the go-to-place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. Our programme is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from 50KEuro to 2MEuro and supports everything from space technology transfer, early-stage incubation programs, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects. 

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