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ESA BIC companies share ESA Space Solutions stand at INTERGEO 2020

Extraordinary situations warrant extraordinary measures. They can also have extraordinary results, as seen at INTERGEO Digital 2020 on 13-15 October, which was very successful despite being a fully online event.  

Frank Salzgeber, ESA Head of Innovation and Ventures Office, gave a presentation via the ESA Space Solutions stage from the new studio at Cesah (ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg)

Five companies from three ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) were invited to have a presence at the ESA Space Solutions stand for INTERGEO 2020 in order to raise the profile of their businesses. In addition, five experts from ESA gave talks and interviews, including Nick Appleyard, Head of ESA Space Solutions, and Frank Salzgeber, Head of Innovation and Ventures Office, ESA. 

The participating ESA BIC incubates were Drone Harmony and Fixposition from ESA BIC Switzerland, Precision Navigation Systems from ESA BIC Estonia, and ThingsOnAir and Vaireco from ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg.

Over 1,200 participants visited the ESA Space Solutions digital stand, including the stands of the five ESA BIC start-ups – that’s 10 per cent of all participants.The success of the show can be seen in the numbers. Over three days at INTERGEO Digital, there were over 330,000 interactions at digital touchpoints. Around 12,000 participants from 153 countries each created a digital profile and viewed information on the exhibitors' pages, as well as convening via the video meeting rooms. INTERGEO Digital has never been as international as this year, showing that even in these difficult times, people are happy to embrace innovative new formats for events. 

INTERGEO 2020 had visitors from more countries than ever before, showing that being an online only event did not diminish its attraction.

Martin Fuchsberger from Drone Harmony summarised the benefits of the shared ESA Space Solutions booth as “higher presence, credibility and visibility at a lower cost”, adding that “we benefited not only from a subsidised exhibition presence but also from the additional traction and visibility that the ESA BIC marketing generated.” 

“Space is becoming the backbone of the digital economy, providing crucial infrastructure for Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications,” said Frank Salzgeber. “INTERGEO Digital was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the potential of ESA Space Solutions.”

ESA Space Solutions stand welcomes high-ranking experts from ESA

Frank Salzgeber was physically present at the INTERGEO Expo Lounge stage where he gave an interview. This broadcast was shown three times over the three days, with over 200 visitors stopping by to have a look. He also gave a presentation via the ESA Space Solutions stage from the new studio at Cesah (ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg). The interview with Nick Appleyard was also livestreamed via the INTERGEO Expo Lounge Stage and attracted many visitors.

 

Henno Boomkamp, ESA Tech Transfer

Donata Pedrazzani, ESA BIC

Drone Harmony’s live demo

 

The ESA BIC incubated company Precision Navigation Systems gave a pitch during INTERGEO Digital in their digital meeting room, while Drone Harmony offered a live demo on 

their sub-stand. Fixposition pitched on the EXPO stage. Henno Boomkamp (ESA Tech Transfer), Donata Pedrazzani (ESA BIC network) and Davide Coppola (ESA Space Solutions) completed the list of talks from ESA experts.

INTERGEO is the biggest trade show in the field of geoinformation; this is an area many ESA BIC start-ups are working in and therefore a perfect fit for ESA Space Solutions. Both the start-ups and Cesah (ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg) are looking forward to attending the trade show again in 2021. 

 

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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Create tomorrow’s space-enabled solutions by taking part in ActInSpace® 2020

The ActInSpace final will take place in early 2021 in Toulouse, France, which is a leading city in the aerospace world (Image credit: FlorianCalas)

Organised by France’s Aerospace Valley with support from ESA, the ActInSpace biannual hackathon is taking place on 13-14 November in 45 countries across the world. Potential participants, including students and entrepreneurs, are invited to register and take up the challenge of solving real-world problems in an event that has generated 35 new start-ups over the past 6 years. 

Teams of between two and five people are created to solve challenges proposed by the ActInSpace organisers and sponsors, using either patents or data they have provided.

ActInSpace first took place in 2014 and is now an international event that takes place every two years. Its aim is to encourage participants to imagine and design the products and services of tomorrow using satellite data or space applications. This year it is being held in 76 cities worldwide. 

Teams of two to five passionate people, such as students, engineers and business people, are given 24 hours to solve challenges proposed by the French space agency CNES, ESA and sponsors including Airbus, SES, Novespace and WEkEO. The challenges are related to space, plus areas such as new technologies and the environment, and are based on using patents or data provided by the sponsors.

This year the hackathon will take place on 13-14 November in either a physical, virtual or hybrid format, depending on the location, having been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The winners in each country will be invited to the final, which will take place at the beginning of 2021 in Toulouse, France; a city famous in the aerospace world. Amazing prizes have been put up by the sponsors, including a Zero-G Airbus A310 parabolic flight! 

Making good use of existing patents

During ActInSpace, experts from countries across the world will be on hand to help teams with technical problems or to answer questions.

ActInSpace was founded by CNES because it had a lot of patents that were no longer being used. To prevent them going to waste, CNES decided to make them available to others to see if they could use them to create solutions for everyday problems, including those not related to space issues. 

CNES was then joined by Airbus, which added its own patents, so as ESA, who also functions as a co-organizer. 

Pushing the limits

ActInSpace provides an opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves, to solve real-world problems and even to create new companies. The event, which is midway between a hackathon and a start-up weekend, has been the catalyst for the formation of 35 start-ups through its three events during the past 6 years. 

Experts from around the world will be available to help contestants with any technical problems or questions they may have. Although each participant will experience the event separately, it has been designed so that they will all be part of one ActInSpace community. 

How to register

The hackathon will take place on 13-14 November in 76 cities worldwide, in either a physical, virtual or hybrid format, depending on the location.

In 2018, ActInSpace had 2,200 participants in 54 cities in 32 countries supported by 500 

professionals. Over 500 projects were showcased and 80 challenges were taken up. Find out more about ActInSpace and register at www.actinspace.org

The aim of ActInSpace is to encourage participants to imagine and design the products and services of tomorrow using satellite data or space applications. During the last ActInSpace, over 500 projects were showcased and 80 challenges were taken up.

 

ABOUT ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int

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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Mirpuri Foundation joins forces with the European Space Agency

Combining forces to advance sustainable innovation, the European Space Agency (ESA) is glad to announce its partnership with the Mirpuri Foundation. The cooperation aims to leverage space applications for advancing development addressing capacity building and education, marine and wildlife conservation, aviation, and health. Both organizations will join forces in order to achieve common objectives. 

The cooperation started with the Mirpuri Foundation sharing environmental inputs for a feasibility study to support post COVID-19 outbreak socio-economic recovery. The objective of this feasibility study is to identify and analyse the technical feasibility and economic viability of sustainable space-based services which can contribute to the post Covid-19 outbreak recovery in the vertical sectors as transport, health, education, manufacturing, agriculture. Additionally, the study will address societal and environmental challenges likely to emerge after the COVID-19 crisis.

Recently, the Mirpuri Foundation has also supported a new ESA initiative aimed at reducing the environmental impact of plastics, which will assess the viability of space based applications in support of reducing environmental impact of plastics/marine litter, and define a roadmap for services implementation and demonstration.

Paulo Mirpuri, President of the Mirpuri Foundation, described this partnership as “the best way to enable cross-sectoral sustainable innovation, with a prestigious and goal-oriented organization. At the Foundation, we feel very confident that this collaboration will show great results, an advance in technology that will benefit the environment”.

Rita Rinaldo, Head of the Partner-led and Thematic Initiatives for ESA Space Solutions, said: “The cooperation with the Mirpuri Foundation is a unique opportunity to demonstrate how space applications can support a green transition. We are confident that together with the Mirpuri Foundation, we will be able to unlock new opportunities for space and deliver tangible impact at scale."

ABOUT THE MIRPURI FOUNDATION

The Mirpuri Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Portugal, and founded by entrepreneur Paulo Mirpuri with the aim of contributing to a better world for future generations. With its belief that leading by example is the best way to change mindsets, the Mirpuri Foundation fosters cooperation between legislators, corporations, communities and individuals. The Mirpuri Foundation acts in six distinct areas: Marine Conservation, Wildlife Conservation, the Performing Arts, Social Responsibility, Medical Research, and Aviation. The foundation’s commitment to sustainability is transversal and is reflected in all its activities. The Mirpuri Foundation is synonymous with technology, research, information and innovation. Allied to these characteristics are the values of integrity, perseverance and altruism in order to better impact the planet.

About ESA

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 organization 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.

ESA Space Solutions aims at reaching commercial exploitation of space assets, data and capabilities addressing incubation, proving technical feasibility and business development. This includes the development of operational services for a wide range of users through the combination of different systems, and support in creating viable companies as well as to existing companies

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Anywaves’ 3D printed ceramic antennas take flight

Anywaves was initially incubated at ESA BIC Sud France and then at ENAC, after which it became a founder member of the Newspace Factory, a group of 12 French SMEs based in and around Toulouse, including Anywaves’ premises seen here.

Advances in space technology don’t always require new technology. Sometimes what is needed instead is the insight to match existing materials and technologies to create a new solution. With support from ESA, this is exactly what Anywaves, a French Space Agency (CNES) spin-off and ESA Space Solutions alumnus, has done to create ceramic antennas for small satellites, resulting in a recent contract for antennas for Omnispace’s satellite-based Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure.

Five of Anywaves’ antennas were put into orbit on EyeSat and Angels satellites in December 2019.

The Anywaves payload user antennas will be used in the initial pair of satellites that Thales Alenia Space has been contracted to build for Omnispace. They will be integrated in a NanoAvionics platform and delivered by the middle of 2021. 

Thales selected Anywaves due to its experience in deploying commercial antennas and its expertise in payload antenna design. The small form factor S-band antennas will be customised to support Omnispace’s IoT communications requirements.

Identifying the opportunity

The contract from Thales marks a significant stage in the history of Anywaves, which started in 2014 when Nicolas Capet, an antenna engineer for CNES, travelled to Limoges, France, to visit XLIM (a joint research unit of the University of Limoges and CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research) and 3DCeram, later to become a key Anywaves’ collaborator. Capet, an expert in electromagnetism and microwaves, immediately identified the potential benefits of ceramic 3D printing for aerospace.

“At first sight, it might seem there is a huge gap between ceramics, traditionally used in making crockery, and all the high-end technologies associated with spacecraft. But when you stop to think about it, ceramics is known for durability and high heat-resistant properties, so is actually a very interesting material to work with for the space industry,” explains Capet, Anywaves Founder and CEO.

EyeSat is a triple CubeSat project being developed by students which belongs to JANUS, a CNES programme that supports French universities in developing their CubeSat projects. Each EyeSat includes an Anywaves antenna.

“If you then consider 3D printing, it has the capability to produce specialised and customised versions of almost everything. It is also known for having a lower rate of failure and a lower cost of manufacturing.” 

The incubation advantage

The Anywaves technical concept and business was officially launched in April 2017, after which incubation was an important step for the development of the French start-up. Anywaves was initially incubated at the ESA Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) South France, from July 2017 to May 2018. While there, Anywaves won its first contract for the ESA Innovation Triangle Initiative (ITI-139 project for 3D printed substrate tests and qualification) and sold its first antenna: an S-band model for EyeSat. 

Anywaves was then incubated at Ecole Nationale do l’Aviation Civile (ENAC) from June 2018 for 16 months, where the team collaborated intensively with the Electromagnetism & Navigation R&D department. It has since become a founding member of the Newspace Factory and five of its antennas have been put into orbit with EyeSat and Angels smallsats. 

Ceramics and 3D printing – a winning combination

“ESA BIC Sud France is very happy to have supported Nicolas Capet during the first steps of his company’s birth,” says Aurelie Baker, ESA BIC South France manager. “It is a perfect example of a technology and knowledge transfer from a space agency to an external company for the benefit and development of the new industry of nanosatellites. Anywaves is relying not only on an innovative technology, but also on a highly qualified team. It is a growing company and we bet it's not over yet.” Anywaves’ novel 3D ceramic antennas have garnered many awards. In 2019, it won the I-LAB competition and the Euroconsult FinSpace Satcom & Connectivity Category award during World Satellite Business Week. Then in 2020, recognition came from the Occitanie Region, which hosts the European Space Capital, for Anywaves with the prize for Start-up of the Year.

Omnispace selected Thales Alenia Space to design and build an initial set of two satellites as part of of its satellite-based Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. These will include customised antennas from Anywaves.

From a well-spotted opportunity back in 2014, Anywaves has grown from one person in 2017 to 20 in 2020 and sold more than 30 antennas. The new contract with Thales for Omnispace marks yet another success for this ambitious company. Julie Ruhlmann, Omnispace Programme Manager at Thales Alenia Space, comments: "Anywaves capacity to design customized antennas perfectly suited to our needs is the reason why we selected them to work alongside with us on this project.” 

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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Czech cosmic start-up helps decode Enigma of Raphael painting

A Madonna and Child painting with a history almost as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa's smile has now been analysed by Czech company InsightART  – whose RToo robotic scanner is one of the first X-ray machines built explicitly for art investigation.

The 500-year-old painting had always been attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci's contemporary, Raphael, but doubts about its authenticity have occurred in its recent history. At the end of the 19th century, the painting disappeared from the general consciousness, and only in recent decades has extensive research been carried out into its authenticity.

The Madonna and Child painting's turbulent backstory encompasses some of European great historical figures, as well as violent fights and lucrative art deals. That Raphael was indeed the artist of this masterpiece has now been confirmed by many expert studies from around the world and by the international advisory board. 

InsightART's RToo robotic scanner had already been used to unveil a previously unknown painting by Vincent van Gogh. The machine uses a particle detector developed at CERN, re-purposed for space exploration, and manufactured by the Czech company ADVACAM.Their decision was backed up by a study by InsightART – one of the start-ups of the ESA BIC Prague business incubator, part of ESA Space Solutions, which uses cosmic detector technology.

"This technology – which is also used to measure radiation at the International Space Station – is capable of detecting and counting single photons, as well as establishing their wavelength," explains Josef Uher, a physicist, and InsightART's CTO.

"While the standard X-ray machine only creates a black and white image, RToo provides 'colour' – or spectral – X-ray images, which allow the materials to stand out based on their elemental composition," he says.

Colour X-ray images by the RToo robot reveal previously hidden layers of the painting.  (Image credit: InsightART)

The Madonna and Child was scanned in great detail – from the foundation layers to the final glazes, revealing the internal structure of Raphael's painting. "During this process, it became clear that the work was executed layer by layer by Raphael himself, without the aid of his workshop" says InsightART´s cofounder and art restorer, Jiří Lauterkranc.

InsightART says they benefited greatly from the ESA BIC in Prague, who were very happy to help the company in deploying the space technology. "We are used to different kinds of technological applications which make use of satellite data, navigation systems, airplanes or satellites. However, the combination of space technology and art is very unconventional – this is the only project," says Michal Kuneš, project manager of the ESA BIC Prague. 

The painting was the subject of a recent press conference at the observatory of Prague's Žižkov Television Tower. The conference featured Jiří Fajt, art historian and former director of the Czech National Gallery, InsightART's art restorer Jiří Lauterkranc and physicist Josef Uher, as well as Kateřina Syslová from the ESA BIC Prague space incubator.

ESA Space Solutions aims at reaching commercial exploitation of space assets, data and capabilities addressing incubation, proving technical feasibility and business development. This includes the development of operational services for a wide range of users through the combination of different systems, and support in creating viable companies as well as to existing companies.

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SatADSL widens global Internet access through PaaS model

SatADSL now provides brokered Satellite Bandwidth globally, having added additional points of presence (PoPs) in multiple continents to connect its cloud C-SDP platform, with the support of ARTES.

Belgian company SatADSL is broadening access to affordable Internet globally through its innovative Cloud-Service Delivery Platform (C-SDP), developed over the last two years through an ESA ARTES Competitiveness & Growth project. This Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution benefits satellite and ground station/teleport operators, who can more easily sell their capacity, adding value added services developed by SatADSL.

Founded in 2011, SatADSL bridges the gap between satellite operators who offer Internet access and those unable to access it (reliably or at all) through a first-of-its-kind cloud-based model. Originally serving the Sub-Saharan African region, SatADSL now serves communities across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. 

Satellite operators looking to sell their capacity but lacking the means to identify alternative markets – and the physical infrastructure to supply them – face a challenge. SatADSL enables them to sell on that capacity by acting as an aggregator, brokering and supplying capacity in any band (C, Ka and Ku) to those who need it. Through its model, operators benefit from range of added value services such as an online payment system and voucher options on satellite capacity. 

Expanding services globally

Initially, SatADSL focused on providing services to Africa, where vast swathes of the population lack terrestrial services and rely on satellite-based options. 

SatADSL services are valuable for larger service providers too. The company has expanded its services across both Africa and Latin America this year. In September 2020, SatADSL signed a partnership with teleport operator Andesat to deliver flexible satellite services to Spanish speaking South American markets. And in April 2020, SatADSL partnered with YahClick, a  Ka-band provider to consumer and enterprise markets in the Middle East, Africa, Brazil, Central and South West Asia, to add additional satellite capacity to the C-SDP  (Image credit: SatADSL)

For four years, SatADSL has also targeted satellite and teleport operators and proposed access to its platform in the form of a PaaS in order to offer them all the embedded advantages of it. Now, as a result of the ARTES project, it is able to provide brokered satellite bandwith globally, having added additional points of presence (PoPs) in multiple continents to connect its cloud C-SDP platform too. For users, this avoids any additional latency associated with fiber on top of the unavoidable latency of geostationary satellite communications.

Technical developments during the two-year project, which finished in July 2020, have also enabled SatADSL to offer its services to teleports as well as satellite operators, unlocking new revenue opportunities for operators without them having to make significant technology investments. The PaaS solution is provided on a risk-sharing model and enables operators to sell on their capacity anonymously.

At the other end of the value chain, the deployment of two PoPs (one in Singapore and one in Orlando, Florida) not only broadens the geographical spread of SatADSL’s service, but should also make it easier for local Service Providers to sell on capacity af-ggregated on the C-SDP to their end-users fleet. The newly conceived VNOFlex service offering allows service providers to subscribe toa dedicated VNO  and allocate it dynamically across their customers as required. This bandwidth flexibility is also important for many end-users whose demand is not static, either across the year (such as schools) or even week-to-week. 

Through SatADSL’s platform, Service Providers can also offer their own branded vouchers, allowing customers to buy access as and when they need and can afford it, and allocating bandwidth accordingly.

Benefitting from ESA technical and business support

The SatADSL team including astronaut candidate and ‘TechWoman’ Caroline De Vos, Co-Founder and COO of SatADSL (Image credit: SatADSL) Both the funding and support provided through the ARTES project were important for the development of the technology required for the new cloud-based service and to widen SatADSL’s offering at both ends of the Internet bandwidth supply chain.

 “Working with ESA is really good for us. This isn’t the first time we’ve worked with them and the technical feedback is always beneficial,” explained Caroline De Vos, Co-Founder and COO of SatADSL. “What we’re doing is very niche – there is nobody else doing it and we’re in the process of gaining worldwide patents. Ultimately, we are a company of engineers, so the support they give us with the project management side, such as reporting and planning, is extremely valuable.”

ESA’s ARTES programme enables European companies to explore innovative concepts to produce leading-edge satcom products and services. The Competitiveness & Growth element is dedicated to the development, qualification and demonstration of products, systems and/or applications.

“During the PaaS project, ESA has supported SatADSL to trial an innovative service idea. PaaS allows teleport operators to maximise the utilisation of their assets and also offers satellite Internet access to millions of potential users. The trials have shown a large interest for this new model,” said Olivier Becu, Application Project Manager, Downstream Business Applications, Telespazio Vega for ESA.

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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ESA Business Incubation Centres drive growth of SMEs

ESA BICs foster growth and are helping to counter a downward trend in SMEs, with a direct impact on SDG 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A recent case study has revealed that ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) are subverting a general downward trend in the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over the years an impressive twenty ESA BICs have been deployed across Europe allowing local economies to benefit from space data and technologies. In doing so, the ESA BICs have contributed to the growth of SMEs with a direct impact in relation to Sustainable Development Goal 9: Inclusive and sustainable industrialisation.

ESA BIC event poster: Thousands of new high tech jobs have been created thanks to the application of space systems and space technology transfers. More than 180 new start-ups are taken in yearly at the ESA BICs.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute a comprehensive framework developed by the United Nations, who adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity.

The path to sustainable prosperity also involves the creation of start-up and small/medium-sized enterprises that help to create employment – making a virtuous link between the ESA BICs and the SDGs. 

ESA BICs work to inspire entrepreneurs to turn space-connected business ideas into commercial companies. They provide funding, marketing, technical expertise and business-development support.

“Helping start-ups to set up, to grow and to become successful is a very challenging and timely business; but it is the most sustainable and economical way of creating the jobs of the future. If you want to have a big tree you have to start to plant some,” says Frank Salzgeber, Head of Innovation and Venture at ESA. 

SMEs are a boon in European and other economies, delivering more employment and investments when compared to larger companies. But unfortunately over the years there has been a perceptible decline generally in the number of SMEs. 

Now it’s being observed that the support to SMEs from ESA’s BICs might in fact be countering this downward trend.

In order to statistically verify the impact of the ESA BICs, Celine Dubron and Elia Montanari from ESA Space Solutions set out to quantify the effect of the ESA BICs on the growth of SMEs by country using an ‘Instrumental Variable (IV)’ tool. 

This is a statistical technique that mimics – at least partially – a Randomised Controlled Trial.  By applying the IV, it is possible to measure impact by comparing the effect of the ‘treatment’ (ESA BIC support) on countries that implemented an ESA BIC against the ‘counterfactual’ (the control group –  i.e. countries that did not implement ESA BICs).

“Impact assessment, be it for SDGs or for other empirical indicators, has recently been popularised by Economics Nobel Prize neo-laureates Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banarejee and Michael Kremer - for  experimental work done in developing countries,” says Elia Montanari, Head of Management & Control at ESA Space Solutions. 

“Implementing randomised control trials is the gold standard. In the absence of such an opportunity, we went for second best by measuring the impact of the selected SDG using the IV instrument. The ESA BIC case study is a particularly important case for the Agency because it allows to link the implementation of ESA BICs to the growth of SMEs as a % of total value-added industry,” Elia Montanari, ESA. 

This graph shows how the treatment group (yellow) compared to the counterfactual (blue), delivering a positive impact even though the ‘general trend’ after implementation is sloping down.

For the case study, the  SDG Indicator 9.3.1 or ‘proportion of small-scale industries in total industry value added (%)’ was studied as the outcome variable. This relates to SDG 9 of the UN framework.

The results of the case study showed a statistically significant positive result. It was observed that while the percentage of SMEs have generally decreased over the years across the treatment group, in the counterfactual – or control group – the percentage of SMEs had deteriorated further.

“This means that the ESA BIC network has an impact on the amount of SMEs that is greater than zero and that this holds true for 95% of the cases,” says Montanari. 

“In other words: When a country became part of the ESA BIC network, the amount of SMEs increased relatively to the downward trend that would otherwise have been observed.”

The results of the case study are robust enough to potentially influence future policy decisions on the establishment of ESA BICs and, where possible, further studies are envisaged to dig into more granular geographies and assess the impact of ESA BIC implementation – at a regional level, for example.

ABOUT ESA BUSINESS INCUBATION CENTRES

ESA's pan-European network of Business Incubation Centres is operated by ESA Space Solutions. The network has now grown to 21 in 18 European countries. Together they form the largest ecosystem in the world for space-related entrepreneurship. Over 900 new start-ups have been fostered and another 220 are taken in annually at the network’s business incubation sites.

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 Transfer 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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Relaunch Event for the ESA Business Applications Regional Ambassador for Scotland and Northern Ireland on 24th September 2020

Following the initial launch of the ESA Business Applications Regional Ambassador Platform for Scotland and Northern Ireland in September 2018, this event is the first to be organised by our new Regional Ambassador for this position. Join this online workshop to find out how your company can benefit from ESA’s support to develop your products, services and business using space assets. 

From international transport to rural education, ESA Space Solutions has enabled data from satellites to transform businesses on Earth. ESA has already invested €250m in launching innovative services in over 1200 businesses. ESA Business Applications (part of ESA Space Solutions) is open to innovative developments from all types of company and supports applications in any sector that addresses user-driven needs.

The event is primarily for business of all kinds based in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Join the event here.

Agenda:

INTRODUCTION TO ESA BUSINESS APPLICATIONS AND SPACE SOLUTIONS

10.30: Introduction and housekeeping – Ken Gordon (ESA Business Applications Regional Ambassador for Scotland and Northern Ireland)

10.35: Introduction to ESA Business Applications and Space Solutions
Dr Tony Sephton (ESA Business Applications, Innovation & Ventures office) and Ian Downey (UK Ambassador Network Coordinator)

10.55 D-Cat, Phil McLachlan – “Fusion Platform”

11.10 Astrosat, Arun Arumagam – “ThermCERT”

11.25 Current Funding Opportunities – Ken Gordon (ESA Business Applications Regional Ambassador for Scotland and Northern Ireland)

11.40 Q&A

11.45 Wrap-up and next steps – Ken Gordon

 

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Space data’s new place in landslide monitoring

In recent months Scotland has seen a number of high-profile landslips, including the train derailment near Stonehaven that tragically led to loss of life, and multiple road blockages along the famous A83 Rest and Be Thankful pass through the Highlands.

Whilst these sites are actively monitored and managed by geotechnical engineers, there is a role for Space in delivering information that can’t be obtained from solely land-based equipment. 

Monitoring movement of the rail track infrastructure at Glen Douglas (Image credit: GNV NSL)

LiveLand’ is an ESA Space Solutions project that has developed innovative ways to monitor, measure and assess geological hazards by integrating Earth Observation data and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). 

The service combines data collected from a number of space and geological assets: LiveLand is currently working with Network Rail (Scotland) and Transport Scotland, the organisations responsible for the rail and road infrastructures of Scotland. 

  • Earth observation radar data from ERS, Envisat and Sentinel-1 satellites
  • Weather forecasting from earth observation radar satellites
  • GNSS technology through the use of cost-effective GNSS devices which continuously monitor the smallest of movement of critical infrastructure
  • Geology, geomorphology and landslide susceptibility from using the British Geological Society’s GeoSure dataset.

The current and final stages of Liveland is increasing the technology readiness level of the GNSS devices, branded as ‘STICKs’.  

These devices are in situ sensors that combine GNSS and IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit – or ‘motion sensor’) technologies to determine long-term movements to millimetric accuracies and to provide immediate alerts when sudden larger movements are detected.  

STICK monitoring land movement above Loch Long (Image credit: GNV NSL)

Space, including Galileo, enables these accuracies and provides the geodetic reference frame (the accurate measurement of geometric shape, orientation in space and gravitational field) which is a unique selling point over other sensors.  Using this common frame, STICK devices are intrinsically tied to each other, allowing individual, local and regional analysis of the geotechnics.

LiveLand has already been successfully demonstrated in certain ‘at-risk’ sites across Scotland.

“The important thing here is that space can really offer something,” says Roberta Mugellesi-Dow, Technical Officer at ESA.  

“Landslide strikes are unpredictable with multiple causes – space data can provide hugely valuable information such as the structure of the soil, amount of rainfall and other critical factors which could help to prevent fatal accidents.” Roberta Mugellesi-Dow, ESA

William Roberts, current LiveLand Project Manager, and Operations Manager with GMV NSL says: “There is no other service currently available that provides a similar integrated solution for providing network-to-local level for the prediction, monitoring and alerting of landslides. LiveLand can play a crucial role in helping to monitor the UK’s physical infrastructure that is being exposed to an ever-increasing level of risk.”

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 Transfer 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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Webinar: Space and 5G - Project Opportunities in Scotland

The European Space Agency (ESA), in coordination with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the UK Space Agency are collaborating around a funding call for the development of terrestrial and space technologies in support of the UK’s logistics sector. 

To support interest in this funding call, the Scotland 5G Centre has organised an information and development session for the morning of 28th September. Join on Monday 28 September 10:30 CEST (09:30 BST) for a live conversation with representatives of ESA, DCMS, UK Space Agency and experts on the Logistics sector to reflect on the impact of converged 5G terrestrial and satellite communication network on business models. The aim of this webinar is to showcase Scotland's strength in these technologies.

The funding call – 'Space and 5G convergence: Transport & Logistics' – is due to close on 15 December 2020. It is open for companies to submit ideas for demonstration projects focusing on the development and pilot of sustainable downstream services addressing UK Government’s priorities in the logistics sector.

Please see the agenda below: 

Introduction and Welcome – Paul Coffey, CEO, Scotland 5G Centre  

09.30 - 09.40 

The Project Opportunity - Introduction and information session  

09.40 - 10.10  

  • Emily Gravestock – UK Space Agency
  • Mohammad Lari - DCMS
  • Rita Rinaldo - ESA

Worked examples of advanced 5G logistics (suggested as)  

10.10 – 10.40  

  • 5G Transport and Logistics: Robert Gardner, Innovation Engineer, Network Rail   
  • Introduction to Smart Ports: Elaine Scott ¬ North East Satellite Applications CoE
  • 5G and Urban Mobility - Adrian Talbot | Head of Centre of Excellence for Mobility -Ferrovial  

Moderator: Paul Coffey 

10.40 – 11.00   

  • Kenneth Gordon - Scotland Ambassador ESA Business Applications 
  • Open Discussion on potential projects in Scotland   
  • Agreement on formative consortia and collaborative actions  

Close  

11.00

To register for this event, please do so below:

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