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Lift Off for Space Camp in London

Seraphim Capital  today is launching “Space Camp Accelerator” supported by ESA Business Applications. This is the UK’s first dedicated accelerator programme for startups in the spacetech industry. Space Camp’s aim will be to “help the best spacetech startups secure funding, achieve scale, and foster close working relationships with industry leaders.

Six startups will be selected to join the programme, with a focus on identifying the best data- and satellite-led businesses that are either addressing the biggest challenges facing corporates in the space industry or creating value for industries on earth, from transportation to agriculture to urban planning. The nine-week programme will run twice annually, with the first cohort beginning on 8 May 2018 and the second following in September.

In a statement, Mark Boggett, CEO at Seraphim Capital, said: “Space is a $350 billion industry that underpins many elements of our everyday lives. $2.5 billion was invested in spacetech startups by VCs globally in 2017, but those startups still need greater access to industry-specific advice and support. We’re turning the accelerator concept on its head: investability is a prerequisite for the startups we invite to be part of Space Camp Accelerator, not the endgame of their involvement as it might be for other programmes.”

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Powered by Space at ESA Business Applications

How Space Data is Enabling the Agritech Sector

The food and agritech sector is a $5 trillion global industry which is consistently growing. This provides a strategic and financial opportunity for investors in the space tech sector. Not only will innovative technology help improve efficiency and cut down on waste but also likely see large potential returns. As we stand, around 38% of the world’s land and 70% of the world’s water withdrawal is used for agriculture. It’s predicted that by 2030, 40% of water demands are unlikely to be met. Here, we shine a spotlight on the sector, potential areas for innovation and current technology already making a difference.

Why Does Space Data Matter in the Agritech Sector?

When considering the benefits of space data on the agritech sector, it’s important to consider both the big picture and smaller, more localised issues.

The Big Picture

Satellite data can be used to help predict environmental factors so farms and producers can adjust their activities accordingly. This includes accurate predictions on future conditions as well as season start and end dates. This helps farmers know what to grow and when to do so. This type of information on general agricultural trends could also be collated to help predict commodity markets and insurance premiums.

Smaller Issues

There are close to 11 million farms in the EU, with around 96% of these classified as family farms. This type of farm presents different obstacles to overcome which satellite data could help to alleviate.

Satellite data will help farmers act immediately on localised issues like irrigation and fertilisation. This will help maximise efficiency and reduce costs. Satellite imagery will allow users to monitor numerous agricultural activities while Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) technology will allow for easy navigation to points of interest. Satellite communications are also vital for agricultural work, including machine to machine communication in areas where terrestrial networks are not always reliable.

Potential Uses of Space Data in the Agritech Sector

Agritech funding reached $3.2 billion in 2016 and will likely rise in the coming years. There are many potential uses for space data in the agritech sector. Here are just a few examples:

Farm Water Management

In the years to come, water conservation is going to be a vital balancing act for farms. Crop field irrigation is not regular, some crops require more water than others. Earth orbiting satellites can help show where water needs to be distributed to help prevent over-irrigation. This technology will aid in conserving a potential of 18%-30% of a farm’s water supply.

Crop Fertilisation

Crop health is not consistent across a field. Specific areas in a field require more fertiliser for optimum growth than others. With the assistance of Earth orbiting satellites, farmers will be able to use only the necessary amounts of fertiliser. GNSS will be able to help pinpoint areas in a field which require more fertiliser than others. This will aid in the reduction of costs and lessen the environmental impact of over-fertilisation.

This could be taken a step further by the use of drones. Earth orbiting satellite imagery will be able to indicate where extra fertiliser is required in a field once the usual fertilisation cycle is over. A drone could be dispatched to quickly address any problem areas highlighted by GNSS.

Autonomous Tractors and Harvesters

Through the use of satellite imagery, farmers will be able to calculate the optimal route and navigate through fields. There is also an opportunity for autonomous, driverless technology to help aid tractors and harvesters on larger industrial farms.

Farm Season Planning

Weather conditions will affect how different crops grow. This means that crop seasonality can, at times, be unpredictable. With the assistance of satellite data, farmers can receive suggestions on which crops to grow at which times. Season predictions and expected yields can be made based on medium to long term weather forecasts.


Farm Animal Tracking

For farms with livestock, satellite technology will help with tracking vital signs like temperature, activity levels, behaviour and sleep cycles. Imagine a FitBit style device for the animals which will alert a farmer if there’s a problem with an individual animal and make suggestions on how to resolve this. This will help prevent the spread of illness among livestock and even reduce theft. GNSS technology will help to locate each individual animal while satellite communications will help alert the farmer of any unusual activity or health trends.

Fisheries

Satellite data could help to predict where fish-killing phytoplankton will bloom, this will enable workers to take preventative action at the earlier possible opportunity. Either the fish could be harvested early or oxygen in the fish pens could be diffused to reduce any unnecessary loss.

Additionally, the temperature and visibility of water can be predicted to assist food distribution. Fish eat less in water with lower temperatures and less visibility. This will reduce food waste and aid in the conservation of resources.

Global Crop Monitoring

The ability to monitor crops on a global scale will be vital in predicting future crop commodity market trends. This will present numerous financial opportunities, allowing investors to make informed business choices.

Crop Insurance

With the technology to accurately predict floods and droughts in the short to medium term, insurance premiums are likely to become more affordable. Access to this knowledge will also aid in more complex farming activities in developing countries.

How is Space Data Currently Being Used in the Agritech Sector?

There are plenty of businesses already using space data to drive innovation in the agritech sector. Here are some of the brands that have already been supported by ESA-BA.

Soil Condition Monitoring – SolumScire

SolumScire looks to understand soil conditions in relation to crop production through the use of satellite and positioning technology. The service is aimed at farmers and will offer spatially resolved soil information into a farm management system to adjust and improve field related precision farming activities. The aim is to add value for farmers by increasing yield or yield stability while decreasing emissions associated with crop management.

Phytoplankton Monitoring – Saltwater

Saltwater is a company which monitors water anomalies for aquaculture. The company uses satellite imagery to provide information to aquaculture companies about water quality, including incoming phytoplankton blooms. This prevents loss of fish stocks and improves efficiency. The data found is used to develop and validate algorithms to predict and detect phytoplankton.

Vineyard Irrigation and Fertiliser Management – Grapelook

Grapelook aims to promote sustainable optimal resource utilisation through helping grape farmers and governmental authorities with the management of scarce irrigation water resources and on-farm nitrogen applications.

This helps to reduce costs, protects the environment and increases the efficiency of water use on vineyards in Western Cape, South Africa. This is done through the use of satellite Earth observation, satellite communication and satellite navigation to monitor overall consumption and offer insights into how to best use the water and fertiliser available. This offers genuine commercial opportunities as it increases both the yield and quality of both grapes and wine.

Crop Yield and Quality Forecasting – Greenspin Agri Planet

Greenspin Agri Planet uses satellite data analysis and collected crowd information to offer near real-time insights on agricultural parcels, plants or region conditions. The company use machine learning and intelligent algorithms as part of big data analytics in Earth observation. This data helps decision makers in agricultural businesses such as producers, consultancies and national control authorities.

Precision Farming Enabling Technology – Agriloc

ESA-BA have been giving ongoing support to the Agriloc project which looks to show how satellite navigation and satellite telecommunication can offer solutions for highly precise farming. An example of real-world uses of this technology would be large-scale farmers growing small grains in crop rotations with mechanised production processes. Agriloc systems and services will boost productivity, machine availability and user-friendliness while reducing production costs and environmental impacts.

Crop Monitoring – DROMAS

DROMAS is developing an operational countrywide system to monitor agricultural crops in the Czech Republic. This will be based on a tool which will offer regularly updated information on crop types and cover. This will monitor and spot any anomalies, damage or degradation via thematic maps.


Fertilisation Management - Fertisat

There’s a growing demand of cereal producers seeking a tool for precise and optimal fertilisation of crops which is both effective and affordable. FertiSat, supported by ESA-BA, looks to resolve this.

Efficient and correct use of expensive nitrogen fertiliser is key to a competitive advantage in the agricultural sector. FertiSat’s maps takes into consideration specific crop requirements as well as moisture and weather conditions which are likely to affect the absorption of fertilisers. This is done by intelligent algorithms which make use of satellite optical imagery and weather forecasting.

Precision Agriculture Services – KORE

Kore makes use of Earth observation satellite data and unmanned aerial vehicles to advise farmers on how to effectively use their land. This information helps to:

  • Produce maps of crop health, used for advice purposes
  • Highlight which areas need more or less fertiliser
  • Demonstrate to farmers how to use their land more efficiently

This is just a few of the innovative technologies currently receiving support for ESA-BA, explore our other case studies in the Agritech sector here.


Satellite enabled technology is set to revolutionise the agricultural sector. In Europe alone, there are currently 4,500 agricultural machinery manufacturers which directly employ around 135,000 people. The integration of GNSS navigation services into this market is forecasted to reach around 35% by 2020, equating around 500,000 sales. This will predominantly be focused around tractor guidance and VRT.

Agricultural Sector Growth Forecast

The EU is putting a significant amount of investment in this area, with nearly €4 billion allocated to the Horizon 2020’s Societal Challenge 2. This will enable research and development in food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research as well as bioeconomy.

Economic growth is not the only measurable when it comes to the integration of satellite data. Societal impacts play a huge role for companies looking to make use of space technology. For instance, 40% of European produced food is dumped and it’s anticipated that world food needs will increase by 70% in 2050. The challenges facing food production are severe but can be alleviated by innovations which place farmers at its core. This is why space applications have such a huge role to play in the sector. Enabling farmers to map, monitor and better understand their land will help build more sustainable processes for food production.

ESA Business Applications offers funding and support to businesses in the Agritech sector looking to utilise space enabled technologies to develop new commercial services. We offer more than a simple funding opportunity. Businesses will benefit from zero-equity funding, tailored project management, access to our broad network and partners as well as the credibility which comes with the advocacy of the ESA brand. Find out more about our funding opportunities here.

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Digital Sky and Beyond Workshop - future downstream services

The world of aviation is continuously changing. The upcoming years will be a critical period to pave the way for the digital transformation of aviation. Aviation’s infrastructure and ATM will have to adapt in order to cater for the growth in traffic and diversity of air vehicles in the sky, which are set to become more autonomous, more connected, more intelligent. 


Initial analysis suggests that with a digitalised infrastructure, the industry could directly unlock around EUR 10 billion per annum by 2035, which could be tripled by 2050. (Ref: https://www.sesarju.eu/news/european-aviation-stakeholders-commit-sesar-and-digital-agenda). 
A digital infrastructure would make a significant contribution to citizens’ well-being, while strengthening security and fostering positive spill-over effects, such as saving time for travellers or reducing CO2 emissions. 

The services relating to the transport of passengers and goods , their safety and security are evolving too. In the near future, passengers will not make choices primarily on their mobility needs; they expect to get from A to B, door to door seamlessly, safely and efficiently. 

These changes will offer the opportunity for development of new innovative services and applications capable to combine space with terrestrial assets (4G/5G, HAPs, UAV) to the benefit of stakeholders in the aviation sector as well as travellers. 

Therefore, ESA Business Applications is reaching out to the aviation sector players, space actors, user communities and National Delegations, to present the results of concluded activities and discuss on new opportunities.

Location

The event will take place at ESTEC (Newton 2 room), 1 Keplerlaan, 2201 AZ Noordwijk Netherlands on Friday, 18 May 2018 from 09:00 to 15:00 (CEST)

Agenda

 

08:30

Registration

 

09:00

ESA Welcome

N. Appleyard

09:15

ADS-B: European Regions Airlines Association perspective

R. Dudley- ERA

 

Session: ADS-B Applications

 

09:30

Introduction

Rita Rinaldo - ESA

09:45

Isaware

 

10:00

Thales DE

 

10:15

Coffee Break

 

10:45

S&T/IDS

 

11:00

Luxspace

 

11:15

Airbus UK

 

11:30

AlbaOrbital

 

11:45

Q&A

 

12:00

ADS-B: Aireon perspective

C. Kronenburg- Aireon

12:15

Digital Sky: Overview offered by

M. Chida – SESAR JU

 

Panel: ATM evolution

 

12:30

Introduction

Antonio Garutti - ESA

12:45

IRIS

Sylvie Sureda-Perez - Inmarsat

12:55

EU Drone Demonstration

M. Lissone- Eurocontrol

13:05

Q&A

 

13:15

Lunch

 

 

Session: Future downstream applications in aviation markets

 

14:00

Introduction

Piera Di Vito - ESA

14:10

Aeronautical aids to maritime surveillance

Olaf Trieschmann - EMSA

14:20

Cybersecurity aspects related to aviation

Patrick Mana - Eurocontrol

14:30

Meteorology and other opportunities for space in aviation

Jos de Laat - KNMI

14:40

On-board infotainment

Ferdinando Tiezzi - Viasat

14:50

Communications networks and smart airports

Richard Van Wijk- Nokia

15:00

Q&A

 

 

Panel: Zoom-in on 5G

 

15:10

Introduction

Xavier Lobao - ESA

 

Interventions from speakers of the previous session

 

15:45

Conclusive remarks

ESA- Nick Appleyard

16:00

Workshop closes

 

Registration

 

We have limited seats available, please reserve your tickets here: esa-digitalskyworkshop.eventbrite.co.uk

Registration is free of charge but please note that this workshop is only open to representatives of entities established in one of ESA Member States.

 

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GEOSS/HACK

 

 

Join us online in or person at the European Space Agency’s ECSAT centre in Harwell Campus (UK) for GEOSS/HACK 2018, where developers will compete to create data discovery and access tools that solve global challenges.

HOW IT WORKS

Participants will have 30 hours to create an open-source data discovery or access application based on a challenge announced at the start of the hackathon.

THE CHALLENGES

The challenge will be announced at the start of the hackathon, and will centre around real data needs and globally relevant environmental themes focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

THE PRIZES

In addition to exposure and promotion to some of the biggest organisations and companies in the industry, our sponsors and organizers are working to create exciting prize packages for our winner(s).

TECH SPECS

All programming languages and application formats will be accepted, provided they are open source and the code is shared in Github. Participants will produce a 2 minute video explaining their entries for the judges to review.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER?

The European Space Agency offers a wide range of financial, technical and business support to help you launch your idea. Just fill in this questionnaire and send it to business@esa.int, we'll get back to you with some feedback and the next steps.

 

REGISTER

We have limited seats available for the in person Hackathon, book your ticket in advance here: esa-geoss-hack.eventbrite.co.uk

Share with your friends through facebook!

 

FAQs

What’s a hackathon?

A hackathon is a hardware and software marathon! At GEOSS/Hack, you will have 30 hours to work towards solving a pressing societal challenge.

What tools can I use?

Any programming language and any solution will be accepted, as long it is open source. You will be asked to share your final output code in Github.

What is the format of the product participants will deliver?

At the end of the challenge, all participants will be asked to present a 2 minute video, uploaded to YouTube, explaining their application.

How will the judging work?

Each entry will be evaluated by a jury of experts on the following criteria:

  • Societal Value: Does it offer a real solution with potential impact on the societal challenge being tackled?
  • Originality / Novelty: Has it been tried or done before? Is the idea disruptive?
  • Use of GEOSS resources and tools: Novelty and creativity in the use of existing resources and functions of the GEOSS Platform
  • GEOSS relevance: Is the idea scalable to other GEOSS projects?
  • Feasibility / Sustainability: Does the idea have a realistic chance of being implemented?
  • Usability and user interface: Is the proposed application user-friendly?

The quality of the code will not be judged in order to allow participants to focus on creating disruptive, innovative applications of GEOSS data.

Who can attend?

Everybody is welcome but seats are limited so register here in advance. Participants are responsible for funding and arranging their own travel and visas.

What should I bring?

Bring your confirmation email and your passport or other national ID for entrance. You’ll also need your laptop and charger for hacking.

Is this event free?

Yes! Just remember to register in advance.

How will I get to ECSAT (ESA)?

For participants attending in person, the closest train station to ECSAT (ESA) is in Didcot - buses can be taken from here to the site. Otherwise there are several buses that can be taken from Oxford (e.g. X34, X32)

How will remote participants join in?

Remote participants will connect via WebEx (register here). Connection instructions will be sent prior to the event.

What's the event schedule?

GEOSS Hack will start at 9:00 (UTC/GMT+1, London) on 3 May 2018, and end at 11:30 on 4 May 2018. Entries will be presented between 13:30-14:30 on 4 May.

Can I sleep at HackGEOSS/ECSAT?

Unfortunately, no - attendants will be expected to leave ECSAT by 5pm on 3 May 2018, and following the presentations on 4 May.

 

Contact

For more information, please contact Christopher Frost-Tesfaye at Christopher.Frost-Tesfaye@esa.int

Or visit the official page: http://www.earthobservations.org/me_201805_dpw.php?t=hackathon

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Making satellite data work for our planet

Alstom acquires 21net: onboard internet powered by Space

Alstom has signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of 21net, from the Innovacom fund and other investors. 21net is a provider of on-board Internet and passenger infotainment for the railway industry.

Its on-board connectivity solution is based on multiple technologies such as satellite, cellular and high-speed wireless from trackside antennas. The solution was developed as part of the ESA Business Applications project EOMST.

onboard connectivity

21Net is headquartered in the UK with subsidiaries in Belgium, France, Italy and India. It employs 50 people and its turnover represented around €16 million in 2017.

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ROYAL NETHERLANDS AIR FORCE BUYS BIRD RADARS FOR ALL AIR BASES

The Royal Netherlands Air Force has signed a €7M deal with Robin Radar Systems to provide bird radars for bird strike avoidance at all its air bases in the Netherlands. The system was developed as part of the ESA Business Application project Flysafe.

robin radar ssytem

Bird strikes on aircraft is a recognised problem in civil aviation. A well-known example is the socalled ‘Miracle on the Hudson’, where a passenger aircraft had to ditch into the Hudson River in New York.

In military aviation, the problem is even more serious. Especially fighter jets, fly fast, low, and usually have a single engine. More than ten aircraft have been lost to bird strikes in Dutch airspace since 1950. A dramatic example is the ‘Hercules Disaster’ in 1996, in which a Belgian Air Force Hercules crashed after ingesting birds into two engines, killing 34 occupants.

“The Royal Netherlands Air Force has been looking at reducing bird strikes for decades. Air Bases are made unattractive for birds through both passive (terrain management) and active (bird monitoring) methods. The bird radars will now act as a third pillar.” Hans van Gasteren, Head of Nature Bureau at the Royal Netherlands Air Force

One of the driving forces behind the purchase is the coming of the Joint Strike Fighter (F35).

Dutch company, Robin Radar Systems, won the European Tender, and is supplying their bird radar systems to the Air Force. The contract was signed today (Friday 20 October) by Commodore Brummelaar, Director of Projects with the Defence Material Organisation, and entrepreneur, Siete Hamminga, founder and CEO of Robin Radar Systems.

The Hague based company was named in the top three most innovative SMEs and is well on its way to becoming an international success story.

Following in the footsteps of Schiphol Airport, the airports of Berlin, Frankfurt and Copenhagen have all ordered bird radars to help prevent bird strikes. In 2016, Robin Radar Systems saw its revenue quadruple, and with this new contract, that upward trajectory seems set to continue. The contract signed today is worth €7M.

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Space for Inspiration

 

A unique opportunity to build cross-sector relationships, learn, and explore how research in the unique environment of space is creating opportunities to meet key challenges here on Earth, and how you could get involved.

 

Learn from international space exploration leaders about exploration achievements and future plans.

Meet technologists, visionaries and problem solvers working on future solutions for current problems.

Get inspiration for tackling society’s challenges by sharing achievements.

Engage with space and non-space actors and develop your network across disciplines.

Contribute to and benefit from disruptive ideas.

Suggest paradigm shifts to rethink European exploration challenges and develop solutions for socio-economic and environmental challenges that we face worldwide.

Outline, speakers, programme available soon…

 

Call for Ideas

Tell your story! Get inspired by space and inspire space with the solutions of the future.

Choose one or more of the following perspectives:

  • Disruptive for Exploration
  • Disruptive for Earth and Society                                              
  • Disruptive for Business and transformation                           
  • Disruptive for Participation

Inputs can be submitted until 16 April 2018.

For more information please refer to the event website: space4inspiration.esa.int

For any questions please email us at: space4inspiration@esa.int

 

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A unique opportunity to build cross-sector relationships, learn, and explore how research in the unique environment of space is creating opportunities to meet key challenges here on Earth, and how you could get involved.

ESA Investors Forum

By Invitation Only: We have screened our portfolio of 500 businesses and selected 8 of the most promising ones determined to grow. We're looking for investors or potential partners to help these companies skyrocket their growth during and beyond the ESA BA mentoring. From fintech to tourism, to drones, AI and IoT; the companies we have selected operate in different sectors. Their common indicator is the use of space technologies and the fact that we've already invested in each of them.

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At the London Stock Exchange
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No

TeleRetail delivery robot debuts in the US

As part of an ESA Business Applications project, the TeleRetail delivery robot to make elevator maintenance in cities quicker and more efficient

The robot, presented as a benchmark product for autonomous driving at a US Senate Field Hearing on January 24th, was on display at the Washington Auto Show.

TeleRetail delivery robot debuts in the US

Self-driving vehicles already play a major role in the future of urban logistics – not in the shape of cars commuting people, but also in the shape of robots carrying and delivering goods. In collaboration with software developer TeleRetail, thyssenkrupp Elevator launched a pilot project in which delivery robots transport spare parts and other material to maintenance job sites. Perfect for maintaining elevators in a contemporary way, the robots represent the future of smart maintenance logistics, reinforcing thyssenkrupp Elevator’s position as a future-oriented mobility provider.

Read more about the project here: https://business.esa.int/projects/teleretail-delivery-robot

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Rezatec Completes Second Phase of £2M Financing Round

Rezatec, a Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK-based provider of geospatial data analytics to the Infrastructure, Forestry and Agribusiness sectors, completed a second phase of a £2m financing round. Caphaven Partners led completion of the two-stage round with support from existing investors Run Capital and new investor Newable Private Investing, through its Scale Up Fund 1.

REZATEC Powered By Space

The capital will be used for continued expansion of its commercial customer base in its target markets.

 

Led by CEO Patrick Newton, Rezatec provides a geospatial data analytics platform for the Infrastructure, Forestry and Agribusiness sectors. Its proprietary algorithms process data inputs from satellite, airborne and ground sensors to predict outcomes for key assets across a range of industry verticals.

The company’s analytics target critical commercial needs such as commodity crop yield optimization, forest inventory management and identification and prediction of pipeline network leakage.

Users include major utilities, agribusinesses, large forestry groups, consulting partners and governments worldwide.

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