Space has never been more exciting.
- NASA’s Juno probe has arrived at Jupiter after a five year voyage and is about to probe the gas giant’s deep interior.
- Work is proceeding apace on the InSight mission to Mars.
- Earth is under observation as never before by the most sophisticated satellites ever made by man.
Around the world, questing, adventurous agencies, companies and individuals are pushing the boundaries of space technology with missions which enable science to seek out and answer some of the most fundamental questions in the universe.
Now Astrosat, one of Europe’s most consistently award-winning space services and management companies, is throwing open a challenge to space innovators everywhere to join in the international effort to help realise the possibilities of space.
This time we want to revolutionise the way earth observation can solve problems on Earth – at a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time by working with innovators to place bespoke sensors in orbit – sensors with missions designed to solve problems End to End.
Astrosat want the world to come up with ideas that need Earth Observation data from the Copernicus suite, but also from data that currently isn’t available, for example, maybe they need better resolution or specific spectral bands.
Astrosat will use this information to determine what kind of sensor you need and get it placed onboard Teledyne Brown’s MUSES platform on the International Space Station!
In association with engineering giant Teledyne Brown, Astrosat is asking participants in the prestigious European Copernicus Masters Challenge to design a new earth observation suite of sensors which can be placed on-board Teledyne Brown’s Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) platform on the International Space Station (ISS).
As a frequent Copernicus Masters winner, Astrosat will sit on the judging panel for entries and will look at entrants as potential partners in its commercial exploitation of space. Special focus will be placed on applications which help developing nations with disaster relief, or in increasing their economic resilience.
Once again, Astrosat is changing the way space solutions are delivered through earth observation. It is co-opting Copernicus entrants into its business philosophy, which is: Tell us the problem and we’ll solve it.
Astrosat’s access to the international space station can speed up the process – and ISS is much more specific than other satellites.
Steve Lee, Astrosat’s CEO, said: “Traditionally Earth Observation solutions are a technology push – long lifetime and expensive satellites are launched and the data has to be squeezed into a solution.
“BUT what if the solution needs something not up there, what if the budget and timescales don’t fit or don’t need a long campaign using big satellites.
“What if the satellites are in the wrong orbit (most earth observation happens from polar orbits.) We can change all of that with our ISS solution and we want the world to bring its ideas to us through the competition.
“Our new COO Georgy Dean has made a short video which you should watch.”
Here’s some examples of applications we’ve looked at ourselves – to spark your innovative thinking!
Urban heat island effect. Urban heat islands are an increasing concern in built-up areas. Copernicus data can be used to provide detail indicating where above average temperatures are being experienced. Current thermal sensors in space have too low resolution. An adapted off-the-shelf thermal sensor on-board Teledyne Brown’s MUSES platform on the ISS gives better information about potential threats and allows us to “profile” the equatorial regions over a short campaign with data spread across the full daily cycle of heat islands.
Algal blooms. Harmful algal blooms cause huge economic losses worldwide. Currently the repeat times for optical images of the algal blooms are too low. By using a sensor adapted for algal bloom observation on Teledyne Brown’s MUSES platform, alongside Copernicus data, repeat times are greatly increased and harmful algal blooms can be detected more frequently, increasing the likelihood of a cloud-free image. Furthermore, Algal blooms come in many forms – some good some bad – all with different spectral signatures. Our sensors could look for specific types of good or bad bloom.
Can you think of any other new business applications for the above sensors? Do you have a sensor or a plan for a constellation that needs tested in space whilst also giving valuable Copernicus supporting data in the near term? Come to us with your ideas.
The winner will be awarded a bespoke support package prize valued at €8,000 that includes business and technical assistance to help bring the product closer to market, as well a substantial satellite data quota worth €10,000 made available by the European Commission.
The winner will also get the opportunity to partner with Astrosat in further developing its service to sell to select existing end user clients.
Entrants will be expected to have identified a novel or interesting new earth observation service that would benefit from bespoke sensors on the ISS; to have defined the type of sensor(s) needed to deliver their service; and to have presented a solid business case.
This challenge has been set by Astrosat in association with Teledyne Brown. Astrosat is a private sector managed earth observation company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that focuses on commercial development and exploitation of EO data. Its clients are spread internationally from South East Asia to Central America and consume products as diverse as deforestation monitoring to energy efficiency in the urban environment.