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UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah and Tim Peake visit ECSAT

  UK Science Minister, Sam Gyimah meets ESA Astronaut Tim Peake at ECSAT

During his visit the Minister announced the new Mars rover planned to be designed in Stevenage by Airbus following the award of a £3.9 million contract by ESA. He said,  “This remarkable new project, which will see samples brought back from Mars to Earth for the first time ever, demonstrates Britain’s world-leading scientific and engineering innovation.”

 The Minister also visited the UK’s national satellite test facility, across the road from ECSAT, where he and Tim Peake met with six companies that are developing cutting-edge products and services with the support of ESA and UKSA. Between them, MDA, Oxford Space Systems, Rezatec, Neptec, Lockheed Martin and Deimos represent both the upstream and downstream parts of the space sector and are a cross-section of more than 80 space-related companies within the fast-growing Harwell space cluster. 

Tim Peake said: “It’s the dawn of an exciting new era where businesses and space agencies are working closer than ever before on ambitious missions to explore our solar system and deliver real benefits to people’s lives. I’m excited to see what the future holds for collaborations between the UK and ESA, which will see us reach for the Moon, Mars and beyond, whilst applying the resulting knowledge and technology back here on earth, in areas such as human health.”

The visit also marked the 70th anniversary of the NHS, with which ESA and UKSA have launched a competition with up to four million available to search for high-tech solutions that apply space technology to healthcare.



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EIB and ESA to cooperate on increasing investments in the European Space Sector

Signature MoU with ESA

Today Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), welcomed Jan Wörner, Director General of ESA, to sign a Joint Statement on behalf of the two organisations.

The Joint Statement puts forth the intention of the two organisations to cooperate on supporting increased investment in the European space sector, thus helping create a level playing field for European companies to grow and become globally competitive. It also supports setting the foundations for Europe’s engagement in Space 4.0 and new space.

“I am very pleased to enhance a fruitful collaboration with the European Space Agency, raising awareness for investors, while improving access to finance for promotors in the space sector” said the EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “The EIB supports sustainable investment projects that contribute to growth and employment in Europe, with a focus on innovation and skills, including in the space sector; access to finance for smaller businesses; infrastructure; and climate change.”

Jan Wörner pointed out:  “This joint Statement with the EIB is a first and important step. ESA has been the space agency for Europe and the Member States since 1975 and has been instrumental in the development of a globally successful European space sector. As one of the few agencies in the world to be active in nearly all space domains, ESA continues to ensure that space delivers smart growth, highly qualified jobs, and solutions for many current challenges in areas such as climate change, energy, transport, safety and security, agriculture and so on.”

Both representatives highlighted the shared interests of EIB and ESA in further enhancing the competitiveness of European industry, maintaining an independent access to space and critical space capabilities.

At the same time, they recognised that, more than ever before, the sector is no longer only the preserve of institutional players thanks to decades of institutional investments in space. Indeed, they stressed, there is an increasing interest in and growing importance of commercialisation at every level of the space value-added chain: from space manufacturing, to transportation, to satellite operations and the development of consumer services based on satellite signals and data.

By bringing together their complementary expertise and experience, EIB and ESA formalise their shared goal of and intention to promote a seamless chain of investments in space for Europe by developing various axes of cooperation, such as raising awareness among investors of the potential of space as a driver for innovation and growth and supporting actors in the space sector that have promising short- or medium-term growth perspectives. Their common objective is also to improve the access to finance for promoters of space projects, including via the study of suitable joint instruments.

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Young space entrepreneurs take part in Dragon’s Den style pitch fest

 The Dragons and the Winners

Twenty two youngsters, aged between 13 and 21, were offered the chance to pitch their proposals to a panel of leading space industry experts after winning the SatelLife Challenge featured in BBC Breakfast on the 26th June.

The competition winners were offered help to turn their ideas into a reality and shared how they see satellites improving life on Earth. The experts offered a range of support to develop the ideas including funding, patent advice and invitations to discuss job opportunities as well as introductions to the other relevant experts for further help.

The winning ideas included a GPS wristband uses satellite location data and communications services to that identify the locations of swimmers and surfers in the sea and an app to map changes in urban areas using satellites and algorithms, identifying where building is taking place and potential sites for development.

Emily Gravestock, Head of Applications Strategy UK Space Agency, said:

The standard of presentations provided by the students was exceptional, even better than some companies who pitch to us. We’ve seen the future of satellite applications from these young people, and I’m excited to see what they could achieve over the coming years.

Dr Nick Appleyard, Head of Downstream Business Applications at ESA, said:

With the capabilities of satellites developing so rapidly, new ideas for services that use their data and connections are coming thick and fast. We’ve seen that the ideas of UK’s young, tech-literate generation are just as achievable as those being developed by mature companies, addressing challenges for vulnerable people and in our own daily lives that could never have been solved before

The other judges on the panel were Stuart Martin, Chief Executive of Satellite Applications Catapult, Adam Brocklehurst, Patent Attorney at K2 IP Limited, Adina Gillespie, Institutional Strategist at Earth i and Karen Roche, Business Development Director at Kx Technology.

A group of school children from Cornwall and a student from Wiltshire were the overall winners of the SatelLife Challenge.  Ellie Jones, Jessica Knight, both 15, Summer Jeffery and Emily Haddrell, both 14, from Truro, scooped £7,500 for the best group entry with their Surf Safe concept. Ieuan Higgs, from Chippenham, received £7,500 for the best individual entry for his Infrastructure Planning and Development Analysis Tool and a further seven entries were awarded £5,000.

The Dragons

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Terramonitor launches a satellite-based map stream of planet Earth

HELSINKI - June 28, 2018 -  Terramonitor, the leading space data company, announces the first ever constantly updating satellite-based map of the Earth. The technology that combines open-source satellite images with artificial intelligence and machine learning, is developed with data from the European Space Agency (ESA). The service is especially useful for industries that rely on accurate geographical data, such as forestry, agriculture and infrastructure.

 Terramonitor Vegetation Heat Map

Viewing the exact geographical situation of the globe has been difficult and expensive, and only accessible for large corporations. Previous solutions have relied on proprietary satellites, skyrocketing the price of space data. Terramonitor pairs ESA’s openly available satellite images with AI - showing the planet at unprecedented accuracy and a sustainable price-point. Terramonitor is free for research, and can be used to understand the impact of natural disasters. 


The unique technology of Terramonitor results in an affordable, up-to-date and high resolution map of the globe - a streamed map that can be viewed in a web browser or integrated with an existing system. Terramonitor’s global map mosaic is constructed by combining 100 million images and auto-updating them constantly. Furthermore, geographic information services (GIS) often rely on outdated images that can be several years old. By integrating Terramonitor, all GIS maps can be auto-updated instantaneously. 


“We’re proud to launch Terramonitor today. In a world where climate-change is being debated, people and companies need accurate and up-to-date information about the globe. Our technology makes space-data usable and affordable for everyone. By utilising artificial intelligence with open satellite data we’re able to show the world in an entirely new way. We’re excited for what the future holds, as we’re just beginning our mission to democratise space data.” Joni Norppa, CEO & co-founder Terramonitor. 


“We believe that the Terramonitor solution is able to fuel innovative business services in the forestry, agriculture and environment domains. By pairing images provided from satellites with their AI-based technology, Terramonitor shows an accurate and timely map of the globe,” Elia Montanari, ESA Business Applications.   


About Terramonitor

Terramonitor is the leading space data company - with a mission to democratise space data. The company pairs open-source satellite data from the European Space Agency with artificial intelligence to show the world from a space-eye view that is up-to-date and precise. Based in Helsinki, Finland, the company’s partners include the European Space Association. For more information, please visit Leave your guesswork to the ground.


Terramonitor True Color

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Philips acquire ESA Business Applications funded RDT



Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) a global leader in health technology, announced recently on the 13th of June that it had acquired Remote Diagnostic Technologies, a UK-based leading innovator of advanced solutions for the pre-hospital market. This represents an important financial exit for ESA Business Applications investment in RDT.


RDT’s portfolio of emergency care solutions powered by Space such as the Tempus Pro (above, in use during the return to Earth of ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet) will complement Philips’ Therapeutic Care business and strengthen its leadership position in the EUR 1.4 billion resuscitation and emergency care market.

“We are committed to investing in and expanding our resuscitation and emergency care offering, and with the acquisition of RDT we can boost our capabilities and portfolio in this vital area of healthcare," said Arman Voskerchyan, Business Leader for Therapeutic Care at Philips. "With its focus on the prehospital market, RDT’s portfolio of emergency care solutions will enable Philips to grow its presence in this market, as we further build our health technology portfolio and extend the range of connected, data-driven solutions we offer to our customers.”

“We are delighted to become part of Philips and continue on our journey that began over 20 years ago”, said Graham Murphy, CEO of RDT. “Our mission is very much aligned with Philips’ own, as we  are committed to transforming the delivery of care and improving patient outcomes driven by customer-focused innovation. Together, we will continue to enable prehospital caregivers to make a real difference to patient outcomes everywhere.”




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European Space Agency and the Toilet Board Coalition Partnership



The European Space Agency and the Toilet Board Coalition partner to leverage Space Technologies to accelerate the Sanitation Economy in developing markets
The Toilet Board Coalition (TBC), the world's first business-led platform focused on accelerating the Sanitation Economy, has announced a partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) to utilise the technologies of space to help address the global sanitation crisis.
Sanitation is also an important issue for astronauts in space. Through this partnership, the TBC will gain a better insight and understanding into space technologies and will assess potential synergies for the Sanitation Economy.
The Sanitation Economy monetises toilet provision, products and services, biological resources, data and information to provide benefits across the economy and society. As part of this, the Smart Sanitation Economy, which will be the focus of this partnership, refers to digitised sanitation systems that optimise data for operating efficiencies, maintenance, plus consumer use and health information insights.
Charlie Beevor, Chairman, Toilet Board Coalition said: “It’s not every day that we see a partnership between a sanitation coalition and a space agency. However, working together will provide the expertise and insights needed to better understand the full potential of the Smart Sanitation Economy. Whilst its currently the least developed element of our strategy, we also think it could have the biggest impact on addressing some of the most-pressing sanitation challenges around the world.”
Cheryl Hicks, Executive Director, Toilet Board Coalition added: “Today, 2.3 billion people do not have access to sanitation. We need big, and innovative approaches to disrupt our current trajectory. The Smart Sanitation Economy seeks to leverage new technologies to drive new value from sanitation systems, which is exactly what we aim to do with the ESA.”
The ESA's Business Applications team supports the development, implementation and pilot operations of downstream space-based services. These are applications that utilise data from existing space assets in combination with terrestrial technologies to deliver sustainable services for the benefit of user communities. Acting at the intersection of innovation and business, ESA Business Applications helps stakeholders in addressing commercial and technical risks throughout the application development lifecycle, thereby transforming commercially promising space-based concepts into operational, profitable and self-sustaining applications.
“Our preparatory work has identified several areas which could benefit from the utilisation of space technology and data. For example, opportunities to establish preventive health information systems by combining health data from smart sensors on toilets with environmental data and disease risk factors provided by satellite Earth Observation data” said Davide Coppola, European Space Agency.
A twelve-month feasibility study will be launched with a call for proposals from interested companies. This will assess the technical feasibility and viability of space-based services in support of sanitation for developing economies through the Sanitation Economy, and will establish the roadmap for service implementation through potential follow-on demonstration projects. The project will explore space technologies, which can transform sanitation into the ultimate early warning system for health issues, as well as satellite monitoring of natural resources, such as water and soil.
About Toilet Board Coalition (TBC)
Founded in 2014, the TBC is a unique business-led partnership with the ambition to address the
global sanitation crisis by accelerating the Sanitation Economy. In November 2017 the TBC launched
new evidence demonstrating the rise of the Sanitation Economy as a call to action for global
business leaders to join in un-locking these new markets: Introducing the Sanitation Economy, The
Sanitation Economy in India, The Circular Sanitation Economy.
Toilet Board Coalition inquiries, please contact:
Jasmine Burton: or +41 79 901 5594 in Geneva.





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Rezatec and Eden Project Promote EO Data


Global leaders in geospatial data analytics, Rezatec, working in partnership with the Eden Project, an educational charity, have successfully been awarded funding from the European Space Agency’s Business Applications to demonstrate the benefits of Earth Observational data as part of a major public exhibition.

Invisible Worlds, a new permanent exhibition at the Eden Project, introduces the interconnectedness of life and the Earth’s varied environments at all scales, exploring how life shapes, and is shaped by, an invisible ‘Life Support System’. The joint activity involves the curation of an area within the exhibition, dedicated to the impact of geospatial analytics. The exhibition aims to highlight how the interpretation of Earth Observation data can provide innovative and alternative landscape intelligence, with a particular focus on forests and agricultural land.

“Eden is pleased to be working with Rezatec and this project will serve as a great opportunity to bring the good work that is being done by ESA and Rezatec to the forefront of public consciousness. The exhibit will serve as a great shop window and has the potential to inspire further action both commercially and within the public sector.” explained Gabriella Gilkes, Project Lead, The Eden Project.

“Rezatec is really excited to be working with such an inspirational organisation as the Eden Project made possible through funding from ESA’s Business Applications. Satellite-derived data analytics is highly relevant to addressing global challenges in response to increasing demands being placed on land and its efficient use, which are being fuelled by growing populations, water and food security challenges and more efficient natural resource management,” commented Tim Vallings, VP Global Resources, Rezatec.

Rezatec and the Eden Project, drawing upon their respective areas of expertise, will explore how the analytics generated for the exhibit could benefit individual growers or forest owners with small areas under management, by providing commercially valuable and actionable decision support tools accessed via a self-service, digital platform. In addition, these analytics could also be provided as an operational service to other creative installations at relevant institutions and organisations around the world.

To find out more about the Invisible Worlds exhibition at the Eden Project, visit:

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5Groningen and European Space Agency to collaborate for space and 5G applications



5Groningen and the European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications (BA) shall collaborate to support the development of space-based applications using 5G and satellite information.  A number of 5Groningen pilots will now benefit from satellite information and services as an additional element to 5G, whilst businesses from the ESA network will be able to use 5G networks functionalities. 


5Groningen and ESA BA share the focus on several domains like healthcare, traffic, energy, agriculture and the environment. As a space agency, ESA has a major network of businesses throughout Europe that are specialised in satellite services. 5Groningen has a 5G test lab where SMEs and non-profit organisations test various 5G applications. The coming months will be dedicated to listing the 5Groningen pilots that can be enhanced with satellite information and the businesses from the ESA network that can be linked in. In addition, European businesses are called to develop and pilot new service concepts based on 5G and space in the thematic areas of interest to the Groningen region.


Win-win for ESA and 5Groningen
According to Peter Rake, Programme Manager of 5Groningen, satellite information can provide a great deal of added value to existing and future pilots of 5Groningen.For example, consider exact location determination that is accurate up to 10 centimetres, or information about weather conditions or soil conditions. Or connectivity where 5G is not available, such as out on the open seas. The cooperation with ESA enables us to expand our network with businesses that are specialised in satellite services. This provides wonderful new opportunities for businesses for the north and centre of Groningen”, commented Peter. The cooperation works both ways, because businesses that are active in satellite -based services are also able to benefit from 5G pilot options, such as the Internet of Things.

Rita Rinaldo, Head of Institutional Project section in the Downstream Business Applications Department of ESA, said  “We are convinced that the cooperation with 5Groningen will enable service providers to develop and demonstrate innovative breakthrough applications drawing on space and 5G technologies to the benefits of a number of user communities”.  


Example of 5G and satellite information combinations
Within 5Groningen there are a number of pilots that will benefit enormously from satellite information. For pilots with drones, satellite communication (SatCom) can be used to ensure there is continuous contact with the drones, even in areas where the regular 3G or 4G network does not provide a signal. In the case of another pilot at sea, satellite positioning and navigation (SatNav) can be used to provide the exact location of a vessel, whilst they also enable real-time monitoring (SatCom) of the cargo status. Satellite earth observation (SatEO) provides information about weather conditions or the depth of navigable waterways as aid to navigation. 

The partnership between ESA and 5Groningen forms part of ESA's wider Satellite for 5G initiative (S45G), built around a Joint Statement that has been signed by over 20 leading industry players and which is open to additional partners. 


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Big data firm QuantCube raises $5 million after ESA investment

QuantCube Technology, an AI start-up and provider of macroeconomic and financial predictive analytics based on alternative Space data, announced that it has completed a Series A funding round of $5 million from Moody’s Corporation and Five Capital after ESA Business Applications investment. The financing will help QuantCube Technology expand its global reach and platform development.

Through Big Data analytics and its talented team of multilingual data scientists, QuantCube Technology can make highly accurate predictions of numerous future events, including the outcome of political elections, economic growth figures, price variation of commodities and fluctuation of stock markets.

Since its creation in 2013, the French start-up has been processing billions of massive, heterogeneous and unstructured data elements in real time from all over the world, from social networks, blogs, e-commerce websites, weather forecasts, satellite imagery and more to enhance its advanced analytics capabilities.

Through the development of predictive macroeconomic and financial indicators, QuantCube Technology provides strategic economic information in the short term for investment strategies, in the medium term for macroeconomic forecasts and in the long term for the predictions of geopolitical risks, to financial institutions, government agencies and large corporates. 

For Thanh-Long Huynh, Chief Executive Officer of QuantCube Technology, “our ambition is clear: we want to establish ourselves as a global leader in AI within the financial industry. Thanks to this funding campaign, we have all the resources and support we need from these high-quality investors to expand internationally. Our aim is to open subsidiaries in the United States and the Middle East by the end of 2018, and in Asia at the beginning of 2019.” 

To support this international expansion, QuantCube Technology also plans to strengthen its operations, data scientists and technology teams.

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Space Exploration Master


ESA, WHO with ASI and CNES are seeking innovative keys to open up the current stressors to a healthy food provision for Space Exploration missions


Terrestrial environmental hazards, e. g. radiation, toxic pollutants and contaminants, impact many aspects of life that are inextricably linked to health and food. To address this, WHO has a key role to play advancing both mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate and environmental change, working in collaboration with ESA and other stakeholders.

Just like environments on Earth can be hazardous, the space environment also turns out to be dangerous for human beings in Space, e. g . astronauts, plants and animals. ESA is constantly performing activities including but not limited to: astronaut missions, ground-based experiments and technology demonstrations related to food concerns to assure sustainable survivability in Space. Hence the importance of checklists procedures, nutrition features, taste elements, preservation, packaging, food generation in Space, etc.

The "remove before flight" challenge aims to stimulate the global community of problem-solvers to come up with new ideas to overcome the barriers to taking charge of humankind’s spaceship towards other non-terrestrial orbits, planets or celestial bodies.

The objective is to foster commercially viable business applications related to health and food issues, e. g. light-weight, compact, tasty and nutritious, of Space exploration missions. The applications are expected to promote the availability of safe, healthy and wholesome food for everyone and raise awareness to improve food and nutrition security on Earth.

The target groups for this challenge are bright teams of students, start-uppers, and young professionals teaming up with large entities, e. g. corporations and research institutes with an established capacity to deliver the solution to market at global level, specifically towards disadvantaged areas on Earth.


The most relevant value of this prize is the partnership of ESA with WHO, CNES and ASI. The winner will get a multifaceted visibility within these four stakeholder networks to advance the implementation of the idea.

The winner will receive:

  • Certificate of recognition as ESA Business Innovation Idea Master Award 2018:
  • A dedicated press release on the ESA Space Exploration Benefits website.:
  • Global exposure to Innovation: WHO technical experts discuss with the prize recipients the current needs of relevant space science and technologies to advance the health-related Sustainable Development Goals for Member States;
  • Space Exploration Engagement: three dedicated hours of coaching from ESA experts to apply to an ESA Space Exploration programme;
  • Space and non-Space Fertilization: Three dedicated hours of coaching from ESA Experts to apply to an ESA Business Applications funding programme;
  • CNES PRIZE: a dedicated visibility package with the sponsorship to attend the Award Ceremony in the fringes of The Space for Inspiration 2018 Conference in Bilbao (ES) on 29-31 October 2018;
  • ASI PRIZE:   a dedicated idea boost package including the characterization of a feasibility study for space mission concept; the matchmaking with Italian academia, labs and industrial players that could foster the related space-based payload development and the scouting of funding opportunities at national and international level –e. g. EU Horizon 2020, etc.-


Applications are going to be evaluated by a jury jointly membered by experts from ESA, WHO, ASI and CNES. The evaluation criteria are:

  • Relevance to the advancement of Space Exploration and the improvement of food and nutrition on Earth;
  • Ratio between market potential and feasible implementation in the short-medium term;
  • Aptness to foster industrial cooperation between Space and non-Space sectors;
  • Suitableness to enable innovation, and
  • Contribution to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Applications are open:

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Remove Before Flight