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Geoff Sawyer March Blogs

EARSC secretary general latest blogs

Visiting Eumetsat

On Tuesday, Monica and I paid a visit to Eumetsat at their invitation. It was a good opportunity to exchange on latest activities, to understand the Eumetsat plans and position regarding Sentinel data and to brief them on and discuss our plans for the Marketplace Alliance.

We learned that Eumetsat now has committed observation missions right through to 2040. This includes Jason which is now a confirmed mission to which Eumetsat contributes. Companies may have access to Eumetsat products through Eumetcast.

Eumetsat is looking at the evolution of many of its operations and plans a series of pathfinder projects. These are not yet public and will be decided by their council next June. They will include looking at data access technology, cloud services and exploitation platforms for higher level information services.

Eumetsat was very interested to learn about the EARSC initiative to create a Marketplace and expressed strong interest as a potential data supplier. The technical solution is also of interest relating to the pathfinder studies to be confirmed in June. We agreed to exchange further over the coming months and EARSC looks to include Eumetsat views in our study on the Marketplace as part of the stakeholder analysis.

As we prepare to support companies to exploit the anticipated opening of Copernicus and Sentinel data and information, Eumetsat has an important role to play as operators of 3 of the Sentinel missions. We anticipate developing closer links and to see how the meteorological data can become part of the Marketplace which we plan to see developed.

Polish Space Sector Forum

Last week, I was invited to present at the Polish Space Sector Forum in Warsaw. The invitation had been initiated by one of the EARSC members (Geosystems Poland) and I was very happy to accept and to present our ideas linked to the creation of the Marketplace Alliance. It was well attended with some 150 people present and most if not all the member companies of the Polish Space Industry Association exhibited.

I was struck by the dynamism of the sector and their ambition to play a role in the downstream business. This contrasted with the main presentations which were all about creating a “space programme” and developing a Polish satellite. If the efforts are successful, I hope that there is enough room to support downstream efforts as well and this is not crowded out by the space manufacturing interests.

Many of the companies spoke with me about the Marketplace Alliance and how it is clearly industry led. There is a strong feeling of companies facing competition from institutes and other public bodies and that the academic view is given too much weight. There was much appreciation of our message about clarifying the roles of the public and private sectors and that this could be conveyed to the Polish decision makers. I was happy to oblige during my presentation and welcomed the opportunity to hear first-hand from the decision makers regarding their ambitions for the space sector; just a plea to remember to take adequate care of the downstream services part!