Public

You are here

Upcoming space entrepreneurs aim for the Moon

Forty new aspiring space entrepreneurs graduated at the end of August from the first Launchpad pre-incubation programme run by Denmark’s ESA Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC), marking the beginning of a new generation of entrepreneurs utilising space to benefit Earth.

The objective of the pre-incubation programme is to boost the creation of new companies based on the use of space technologies and satellite data. During the 12-day intensive entrepreneurship programme, the selected participants were provided with practical support and advice to speed them on their way to initiating new start-ups. In addition, Launchpad is designed to foster potential candidates for ESA BIC Denmark, which each year admits eight new start-ups to its two-year business incubation programme.

 

Kicked off by ESA BIC Denmark, the 12-day intensive entrepreneurship pre-incubation programme Launchpad was attended by 40 participants from Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Iran, India and Mexico. They are shown here with the ESA BIC Denmark organising team. Image credit: Kaare Smith/ESA BIC Denmark

 

Venture capital (VC) investors were amazed by the extraordinary potential shown by the space entrepreneurs as they presented their bids to become innovative space start-ups at the end of this first edition of Launchpad. Created by ESA BIC Denmark, the programme attracted 40 ambitious participants from Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Iran, India and Mexico. All worked nearly round the clock to fast-track their ideas into interesting space businesses ready to be presented to the panel of selected VC investors.  

"The purpose of Launchpad is to facilitate the formation of new Danish start-ups that utilise space technology and satellite data in a number of different sectors," says Sune Nordentoft Lauritsen, head of ESA BIC Denmark. “We’re looking for ones that have strong potential to scale up in today`s global market, which over time will create jobs and growth in the Danish industry.”

A reaction chamber for moonshot start-ups

Launchpad was kicked off by a 48-hour Creativity Bootcamp, with radical innovation succeeding. The participants then worked intensively to develop their ideas and turn them into viable businesses. Solutions proposed were to solve critical pain points for the green transition, the climate challenge, agriculture, insurance, logistics, real estate, materials and renewable energy.

 

During the ESA BIC Denmark Launchpad entrepreneurship pre-incubation programme the participants visited the Danish launcher company Copenhagen Suborbitals and tried out the tight astronaut capsule. Image credit: ESA BIC Denmark

 

“Launchpad is all about taking upcoming entrepreneurs and their soon-to-become start-ups from idea to business. During the programme we effectively place the people, ideas and space technology into a reaction chamber to quickly foster innovative and feasible business space spin-off prospects,” explains Sune.

The participants received training and workshops on how to integrate entrepreneurship, creativity and technology to grow ideas into ‘moonshot’ businesses. Experts shared know-how on how to tackle the start-up journey, what is needed to succeed, how to confront and overcome challenges on the road to becoming a company, and why a great idea is only 10% of a successful business.

 

ESA BIC Denmark Launchpad teams were coached during the 12-day intensive entrepreneurship pre-incubation programme. Image credit: ESA BIC Denmark

 

They also heard from speakers who have recently turned their early stage companies into well-run businesses. The talks gave a real-life introduction to the aspects of being a start-up and what to expect when you enter the entrepreneurial track. Hard facts of life as an entrepreneur were presented, with lessons learned from failing and retrying, how important it is to “listen to the customers” and much more. 

 

Developing space start-ups. Image credit: ESA BIC Denmark

 

“What we currently see in society as a whole, and among our space entrepreneurs here in our Launchpad programme, is that space is becoming both more accessible and an enabling technology, a source for radical new applications across a number of sectors,” added Sune.

VC investors impressed by interesting candidates 

Launchpad first place start-up PVSite. Image credit: Kaare Smith/ESA BIC Denmark

 

On the final day, seven teams presented their start-ups to a panel of professional investors from SEED Capital, Pre-Seed Ventures and the Growth Fund from Denmark, Pale Blue Dot from Sweden and Seraphim Capital from the UK, all of which are venture funds that invest in early-stage start-ups.

“Many of the teams presented substantial business cases and the investors were impressed with what the participants had achieved in the short time,” says Sune.

 

The three winning teams from Denmark’s ESA BIC Launchpad 2020 pre-incubation programme were PVSite with ‘Utilization of satellite data for construction and operation of solar parks’ (1st), EXO Monitoring with ‘Geophysical risk assessment of real estate transactions using satellite data’ (2nd) and Verisat Carbon with ‘Platform for trading CO2-reducing forestation with satellite verification’ (3rd). Image credit: Kaare Smith/ESA BIC Denmark

 

The three best teams selected by the investors were awarded cash prizes sponsored by the Danish Otto Bruun Foundation. These were topped up by hours of coaching from ESA BIC Denmark to help the new entrepreneurs move their companies closer to becoming viable businesses. The three winning start-up teams were: 

1st place: PVSite – Utilisation of satellite data for construction and operation of solar parks
2nd place: EXO Monitoring – Geophysical risk assessment of real estate transactions using satellite data
3rd place: Verisat Carbon – Platform for trading CO2-reducing forestation with satellite verification.

Several of the investors expressed their intention to keep in contact with some of the start-ups as they spotted good investment potentials.

“Our ESA BIC Denmark pre-incubation Launchpad programme has definitely been a success. We plan to repeat it on a yearly basis. I am sure that we soon will see several of these entrepreneurs applying to join our ESA BIC Denmark incubation programme,” says Sune. 

The next deadline for applying to the incubation programme at ESA BIC Denmark is on 25 October 2020.

ABOUT ESA BUSINESS INCUBATION CENTRES

ESA BIC Denmark is part of ESA´s pan-European network of Business Incubation Centres 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.

 

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

Project Announcement CertiPro

Image credit: Andrea Martinelli

Certifiable Railway Trackworker Individual Protection (CertiPro)

The European Space Agency (ESA) has kicked off the CertiPro railway demonstration project under ESA Space Solutions umbrella in the ESA Business Application programme. In this truly European project, an innovative railway track worker protection system will be evaluated for its reliability and its ability to enhance the saftey of railway track workers. The goal is to demonstrate the safety capabilities of the track worker protection system in a real environment, integrated into the challenging infrastructure of a railway operator in Italy. A formal procedure will be followed allowing certification according to the relevant standards later on. The international project team consists of partners from France (Airbus DS SLC), Germany (Intelligence on Wheels GmbH, ETC-Gauff Solutions GmbH, BERNS Engineers GmbH), Italy (Azienda Mobilità e Trasporti Genova S.p.A) and Switzerland (CertX AG). 

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.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

Start-up agriBORA supports survival of African smallholders

Smallholder farmers face many difficulties, but 2020 has been particularly hard with the additional problems presented by COVID-19. The pandemic looked as if it would be challenging for start-ups too, but agriBORA, with its agribusiness decision support platform, survived and is seeking investment to help smallholders thrive.

The team from agriBORA Germany, including CEO Kizito Odhiambo, visit their Kenyan Operations Team in January 2020

It’s tough being a start-up at the best of times. At the beginning of March 2020, in their first lockdown videoconference, the agriBORA team was unanimous. It was going to be difficult to survive. 

agriBORA’s platform captures data from individual farmers and fields through mobile phones, weather sensors and satellite data. This provides location-based insights to de-risk smallholder agriculture and support decision-making.

AgriBORA is a start-up in the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in Darmstadt, Germany, focusing on using space technology to support the agriculture in East Africa. 

The company has developed a platform which brings together partners from different parts of the agriculture value chain: input companies, farm machinery companies, agro-dealers, aggregators, off-takers, extension officers and farmers. The platform offers location-based insights and tailored-informational, capacity building, financial, market-linkage, market intelligence and consultancy on products and services. 

However, according to CEO Kizito Odhiambo, things have gone much better than he had expected. “It seems as if people are realising that, when movement of people is restricted, the role of Earth observation (EO) data becomes even more important. The problems have not disappeared, so more intelligent solutions need to be put in place.” The business was developing well. But with COVID-19 causing worldwide disruption, who was going to worry about the millions of smallholder farmers in Kenya?

Supporting smallholders through pandemic and plagues

In East Africa, the problems certainly haven’t disappeared. In addition to COVID-19, farmers there are having to cope with plagues of locusts. 

The future of agriculture in Africa depends on young technology-aware people, a fact agriBORA is taking seriously in their endeavours

Odhiambo was a mentor in the INSPIRE Hackathon in Kampala, Uganda, and in April it was announced that his team won first place with their proposal for tracking locusts using Sentinel-2 satellite data. At this point, agriBORA decided to conduct a survey among smallholder farmers to find out first-hand how the two parallel crises were affecting them. The results, which show the importance of ground truth data in combination with satellite data, are now being discussed with research organisations in Europe and Africa. 

Also in April, agriBORA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) network with aim of establishing national Data Cubes for countries in East Africa – another indication of the growing relevance of EO data. And in June, agriBORA signed a contract with a leading agriculture insurance company dealing in multi-peril crop insurance. The insurance company is convinced that using EO data will make the business of dealing with claims more efficient. 

The list of opportunities for agriBORA has grown steadily over the past three months, as have the number of farmers registered on its platform. According to Odhiambo, his next big challenge is to find the right mix of investment and donations to fuel the next stage of company growth. As he says: “It is still tough being a start-up, but at least for agriBORA the world has not stood still. The future looks brighter than I could have dreamed of three months ago.”

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.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

New satcom systems can reduce aircraft CO2 emissions by 10 million tonnes per year

With air traffic on an upward trajectory the world has been looking to the skies for some time for a solution to escalating CO2 emissions. This impetus is increasing with a desire to rebuild better post COVID-19. Now space-enabled air connectivity programmes are set to produce some robust carbon-cutting results. Improved air-to-ground communication combined with an increase in air traffic management efficiency is likely to pay dividends; delivering measurable impact in terms of climate change and contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Satellite-based air-to-ground communication systems are tipped to have a direct C02 impact – auguring well for future sustainability. (Image credit: Svetlana Avv/Shutterstock)

The SDGs have captured the imagination of leaders and public figures having been defined by the United Nations as a necessary global initiative. Efforts are being demanded across the board and especially in the transport sector. 

The SDGs are interconnected and there is overlap between SDG 13: Climate action and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. In particular, SDG target 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes. Air connectivity has an effect on SDG 13, through its effect on indicator 9.4.1 (CO2 reduction) (Image credit: Shutterstock)

As part of the Paris Agreement in 2015, over 150 countries agreed a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions was necessary by 2050. Aviation is very likely to become a dominant carbon emitter in the future, so solutions to reduce its shadowy footprint in our skies are especially sought-after. 

According to EUROCONTROL, we can expect about 44 000 flights per day by 2030; each emitting on average 20 kg of CO2 per km. But the introduction of air connectivity and innovative flight-optimising software is starting to change the skyscape.  

The combination of enhanced connectivity and the introduction of 4D trajectory (latitude, longitude, altitude and time) through satellite communications is enabling continuous optimisation in the planning, monitoring, execution and control of air traffic. This will help to stem a future CO2 increase as well as reducing flight inefficiency and curbing needless emissions. In so doing, air-ground connectivity contributes directly to SDG 9: Inclusive and sustainable industrialisation; as well as SDG 13; Climate action – one of the main drivers for sustainable development. 

Unlike other transport sectors aviation is much less likely to switch to low carbon fuel sources. For example, hydrogen fuel has a very low volumetric energy density, necessitating huge fuel tanks. Hybrid aircrafts have a low energy density, making the aircraft much heavier. Electric alternatives are being developed, but only for short-haul flights. Biofuels also offer possibilities; although as sustainability is an issue they are only expected to partly replace traditional carbon-based fuels. This means that other solutions like fuel efficiency and improved flight efficiency, will become extremely important. 

Improving flight efficiency 

Above: an extreme case of flight inefficiency between London Heathrow and Los Angeles. Red shows the optimal, more direct flight enabled by satellite-based air-ground communication system (Image credit: ESA)

Flight inefficiency most often occurs when an aircraft’s flight path deviates from its optimum 4D trajectory. Today the Federal Aviation Administration estimates that European aircrafts fly on average 40 km more than necessary due to the fragmentation of airspace.

Flight-optimising software conceived as part of ESA and Inmarsat’s IRIS programme pinpoints the aircraft in four dimensions enabling more precision in the tracking of flights and enhanced efficiency in managing traffic through Trajectory-based Operations (TBO). TBO allows pilots and controllers to collaborate on flight trajectories and calculate the shortest available routes, cruise at optimum altitudes, and use continuous climb and descent paths, saving fuel and reducing emissions. Analysis by Sky High Economics (LSE) indicate that air-ground communication can result in a 1-2 % fuel saving reducing CO2 emissions by 8.5 million tonnes per year.

Communication channels are also increasingly over-burdened. This results in aircraft performing holding manoeuvres while awaiting clearance to land. Holding patterns add on average an extra 12 km to each flight. IP-connecti

vity (Internet Protocol) for real-life weather tracking and real life communication channels can reduce these holding-patterns by up to 35%, reducing CO2 emissions by a further 1.5 million tonnes per year. 

The combination of improving flight efficiency and reducing air delays results in a significant impact on SDG Indicator 9.4.1: Reducing CO2 emission by 10 million tonnes per year

Econometric analysis to estimate the impact of a number of case studies was carried out by Céline Dubron and Elia Montanari from ESA. Each case study represented a project where space-enabled products or services have been developed and they were reviewed against several SDGs. 

The examples referenced above come from a case study which concludes that air connectivity and the introduction of 4D trajectory through satellite communications can reduce CO2 emissions by 10 million tonnes per year. This is equivalent to a third of the yearly emissions over London. Cumulatively, this would lead to 140 million tonnes of CO2 reduction by 2030, leading to €17 billion in savings by 2030.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

Towards Space and 5G: Transport and Logistics

ESA is ready to support Industry in developing and demonstrating convergence of space and 5G terrestrial technologies to enable sustainable 5G services in logistics

ESA, in coordination with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the UK Space Agency, will launch on 9 July 2020 a Call for Proposals inviting companies to submit their ideas for deploying and demonstrating sustainable downstream services addressing UK Government’s priorities in the Logistics sector. 

The services shall demonstrate innovation in the convergence of 5G terrestrial and satellite communication networks, opening the way to new connectivity solutions and sustainable business models for operators and industrial customers.

This Call for Proposal is based on the Memorandum of Intent signed in December 2019 by ESA and DCMS. The main purpose of the Memorandum of Intent is to support the emergence of commercially sustainable products and services enabled by the deployment of converged 5G terrestrial and space networks. 

Sustainable applications relying on 5G communications will require the establishment of a wide ecosystem including terrestrial and satellite connectivity providers. Collaboration between these actors is essential to ensure the deployment of converged networks, which will allow application developers and service providers to deliver innovative and sustainable services for a longer term efficient, competitive and low carbon logistics sector.

“This is a great opportunity for ESA to join forces with DCMS and UK Space Agency and prove the key role that satellite communications will play in the future converged 5G networks”, stated Magali Vaissiere, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications. “In the context of the ESA 5G Strategic Programme Line, this Call for Proposals is intended to stimulate the emergence of sustainable applications relying on innovative 5G solutions, starting from the logistics sector”.

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “This is a great initiative to show how together we can work to help close the digital divide. Access to constant connectivity regardless of location offers huge benefits."

“We've seen through the current pandemic, that logistics are vital to keeping the country going and space technology is a key part of making that happen.” 

Proposals can be submitted anytime until 15 December 2020.

Additional information can be found here.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

Towards Space and 5G: Webinar

ESA, in coordination with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the UK Space Agency, will launch on 9 July 2020 a Call for Proposals inviting companies to submit their ideas for deploying and demonstrating sustainable downstream services addressing UK Government’s priorities in the Logistics sector. 

Join on Thursday 9 July 10:00 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.

Please see the agenda below: 

Moderator ESA - Head of ESA Space Solutions

10:00 - 10:05 Opening remarks and introducing the panelists 

Panel 1: Setting the scene

10:05 - 10:10 ESA - ESA TIA Director

10:10 - 10:15 UKSA - UK Space Agency Head of Telecommunications Strategy

10:15 - 10:20 DIT - DIT Chief Scientific Advisor

Panel 2: Potential use cases and business opportunities

10:25 - 10:30 BT

10:30 - 10:35 Network Rail

10:35 - 10:40 CGI

Panel 3: Launch of call for proposals

10:45 - 10:50 Head of Institutional Projects ESA

10:50 - 10:55 Head of Future Programmes Acquisition ESA

Q&A

11:00 - 11:30

ESA - Head of Institutional Projects

UK Space Agency - Head of Applications Strategy

DCMS - Head of Cross-Government and International Coordination

 

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

ASPIRE WITH ESA is live!

ASPIRE WITH ESA is back! We want to inspire tomorrow’s pioneers to develop today’s Space Solutions!

We are:

Faster – We match innovation and private investment at market speed!

Better – We give you direct access to technology and business expertise 

With purpose – You want to be part of something big, so do we! Join the SDG Challenge!

You can link your innovation to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Framework. Show us how you can make a difference!

Sign up to the webinar at 17:00 CET on 09/02/2021 here.

Sustainable development

 

 

  

 Any questions? Check our FAQ or contact us at aspirewithesa@esa.int

Please download relevant documents below.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

Space-enabled mobile bio-lab to test key workers for COVID-19

A deployable laboratory that can test frontline healthcare staff, civil protection volunteers and police forces for the coronavirus has left Belgium and is on its way to Piedmont, Italy.

Italy has been badly affected by the pandemic. In response ESA has been working to identify how space can help.

A transportable diagnostics laboratory developed at the University of Louvain in Belgium with ESA’s support is now being deployed to help with the fight against the coronavirus.

The field laboratory will be used to test key workers for COVID-19

The system first proved its worth during the Ebola outbreak in N’Zerekore, Guinea, from 2014 to 2015.

It will be used to collect nasopharyngeal swabs and analyse them to identify whether or not a person has the coronavirus, as well as to perform the antibody test that can demonstrate whether a person who has been infected has an immune response to the virus.

Administering the tests will enable people in essential roles to return to work if they have a negative swab test or if they have a positive antibody test.

Jean-Luc Gala, director of the Centre for Applied Molecular Technologies at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain), leads the team overseeing the deployment and will be operating the deployable laboratory in Piedmont.

“We have developed a smart strategy to diagnose infected patients and to identify those who have protection against the virus. Our second smart strategy is to train people to operate the diagnostic devices and to do the tests. We see this as a golden opportunity to train as many as 20 local biologists,” he says. These biologists will then be able to train other colleagues, thereby scaling-up the screening.

Called B-LiFE, short for “a biological light fieldable laboratory for emergencies”, the system comprises: easy-to-set-up tents both for the laboratory and command and control parts; specialised equipment to rapidly analyse samples; a laboratory information and management system to safely collect and store all the results produced in real time; and dedicated satellite antennas for reliable and secure communication between local staff and remote medical care centres.

It relies on several space-enabled features including satellite communications, Earth observation data and geo-positioning data delivered via satellite.

Together these allow the real-time transmission of analytical results, bidirectional communication with remote experts, broadband links for transferring large datasets through an autonomous telecommunication system, and geolocation of cases enabling real-time epidemiological mapping.

“During the Ebola crisis, real-time telecommunications were crucial to provide the information which could be given by specialist experts. Satellite communications are vital as telecommunications networks can rapidly become saturated in some circumstances and we need our own autonomous system,” says Roland Gueubel of UCLouvain.

“B-LiFE was designed many years ago for epidemics. I must congratulate ESA for its vision and support.”

Arnaud Runge, medical engineer overseeing the mission at ESA, says: “What sets B-LiFE apart from other existing laboratories is that it utilises multiple space assets. This significantly improves the workflow and effectiveness of the laboratory. ESA has been very active with a number of relevant initiatives to support the fight against the COVID-19, and the deployment of B-LiFE is one of them”

B-LiFE is certified under the EU’s civil protection mechanism, which aims to enable national authorities to exchange information to identify best practice and work interchangeably when disaster strikes.

ESA Space Solutions

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.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

Project Hawking: Space-enhanced machine learning brings genius to the agrochemical management of crops

The Hawking project offers new and innovative AI analysis through a satellite platform (Image credit: Monopoly919/Shutterstock)

When SME Hummingbird was created in 2016, it had a clear mission: “Measure sustainability, optimise food production and push the boundaries of science and technology through sophisticated modelling and predictive analytics”. Through ‘Project Hawking’ with its remote sensing platform, Hummingbird is now solving challenges in yield losses, inefficient inputs, unsustainable practices and poor decision making.

Before Project Hawking, Hummingbird Technologies Ltd., an artificial intelligence (AI) business based in London, were identifying crop health issues and forecasting the occurrence of possible diseases and weed pressures in the field by using UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) imagery processed by its AI algorithms. This imagery was also used to produce variable rate fertiliser and other chemical application maps.

Project Hawking was launched a few days after the death of Stephen Hawking in March 2018. Hummingbird decided to rename the project in memory of the great scientist. (Image credit: Delcarmat/Shutterstock)Ingenuity struck with Project Hawking, a collaboration funded and supported by ESA Space Solutions, where Hummingbird started adding satellite observation points throughout the growing season to the process. Hummingbird was now able to build an extensive time series of data to apply its proprietary machine learning techniques. 

The added dimension of satellite data 

This deep, new layer of intelligence complemented the existing UAV platform, enabling increased accurately geo-referenced UAV and ground truthed (information gained via direct observation rather than inference) captured imagery during the image acquisition. 

“The first step was for Hummingbird to build the system architecture necessary to process satellite data from ESA as well as other higher resolution commercial imagery,” says Olivier Becu, Technical Officer at ESA. “Next they needed to adapt their existing front-end to display the generated high-value information to customers”. 

Hummingbird started to train AI algorithms with the thousands of satellite images they collected and matched with existing datasets. The aim was to develop a processing chain delivering satellite-derived vegetation index maps. Data and imagery were collected from the various satellite providers and processed using the platform, with analysis of crop health, yield and rate of change provided. This included vital data such as the identification of disease and disease prevalence as well as soil type mapping by reflectance data.

With Hummingbird’s Crop Identification tool, you can determine the planted area of Canola, Cereals, Pulses and Maize / Soybean in-season. (Image credit: Hummingbird Technologies Ltd.)

“Project Hawking cuts farm costs and improves yields by using satellite data to provide predictions in macro analytics and targeted agro-chemical applications, with the aim of reducing blanket agrochemical input. This reduces the negative environmental effects of agrochemical overuse, promotes responsible stewardship, and reduces the natural resistance build-up in crop diseases,” Alexander Jevons, Hummingbird Technologies Ltd. 

In a matter of months, Hummingbird was set up with multiple satellite data sources delivering timely optical measurements and radar data at various geographical resolutions. Over the course of 2019, Hummingbird made its AI/satellite derived maps available to a set of trial users as part of a pilot project. This project involved large farm management company Velcourt and Cranfield University for scientific support

A particular highlight of the project is the Green Area Index canopy management tool for Oil seed Rape. This cutting-edge innovation was built and trained using UAV data and then cross calibrated to run on satellite data. The tool delivers uniquely accurate canopy management recommendations and represents a breakthrough for Oilseed Rape cultivators. (Image credit: KellySHUTSTOC/Shutterstock.)

The fruit of this pilot was a freemium satellite offering that gives users access to basic satellite analysis with the ability to upsell higher resolution analysis where needed.  By the end of 2019, more than 5000 farmers across the world had requested access to the data. Many of these farmers have now subscribed to the commercially available Hawking service.

For almost all of the stages of crop development, Hummingbird can support the farmers to achieve more with less: seeding, fertilising, treating and forecasting yield for all major crops. Hummingbird has now launched commercial operations in Ukraine and Russia, Australia, Brazil and North America. 

“As a result of Project Hawking and ESA funding Hummingbird has conducted a successful raise of £8.2m and grown the company to over 60 people globally with three international subsidiaries,” Alexander Jevons, Hummingbird Technologies Ltd.

ESA Space Solutions

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.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No

Joining forces to foster development of space applications to empower rural communities

In a breakthrough collaboration, Social impact organization Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) has partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide a unique opportunity for developing innovative space utilisation applications and services to support empowerment of rural communities and uplift them through sustainable tourism and other holistic development interventions. 

The Global Himalayan Expedition team crossing the bridge at 12000 ft over river Zanskar in Ladakh. On their way to electrify the 2500 year old Phugtal Monastry. Image credit: Global Himalayan Expedition.

Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) is working towards the empowerment of the remote Himalayan communities through leveraging clean technology and promotion of sustainable tourism. GHE over the last 8 years have provided solar energy access to over 110 villages and impacted the lives of 55000 people living in the remote regions of the Indian Himalayas. To enable economic empowerment of the marginalized communities, GHE also creates village homestays for travellers in Its electrified villages to bring income to the doorstep of the villages through responsible tourism. This enables cultural preservation of the fragile ecosystem and creates opportunities for the youth to earn meaningful livelihood in their own backyard. 

The European Space Agency (ESA) 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. 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.

Sking Electrification. Image credit: Global Himalayan Expedition.

The tourism sector plays an important role as a driving force of economic development. Activities related to the tourism sector contribute to the generation of income and employment. Recent technological advances in the space technologies have opened big opportunities particularly interesting for the sustainable tourism. The combination of space and terrestrial technologies can provide, for instances, always updated and reliable maps, weather report, timetable and other useful information, according to the geographic position of the tourist.

The collaboration between GHE and ESA will bring together GHE’s commitment to leverage innovative technologies and enablers to support rural communities in its socio-economic development. Use of space technology in the on-ground activities can play a big role in fostering the development of these rural and remote communities. 

The common objectives of the collaboration will focus on fostering the development of innovative space-utilising applications to support local communities’ development through sustainable tourism. This will involve services such as tourism logistics and mobility services, homestays booking, emergency services, as well as electrification, tele-education, and tele-medicine for hard-to- reach rural communities. 

As first step of this cooperation, GHE will join forces with ESA on the ESA’s “Path to Post-COVID Recovery” feasibility study, by voicing the requirements of the remote Himalayan Communities with economies based on responsible tourism, heavily affected by COVID-19.

Similarly, GHE will support the ESA’s “Connected Rural Communities” initiative by providing their views on most needed applications for rural community upliftment  in India,  including mobility and sustainable use of natural resources.  

Thangso Electrification. Image credit: Global Himalayan Expedition.

Community reference: 
Posted to Hero article section: 
No