Mar 2024 | No Comment

Funds for space preservation efforts by UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency recently allocated a £2m investment for research into the refuelling of a mission designated for the removal of space debris. Currently, numerous inactive space objects orbit Earth. Statistics indicate almost 37,000 objects larger than 10cm, and approximately 130 million smaller than 1cm, ranging from decommissioned satellites to tools lost by astronauts, even including specks of paint. Their high-speed orbits pose a significant hazard to active satellites.

In a bid to foster the long-term sustainability of space, the UK Space Agency is spearheading initiatives to bolster UK capabilities in space environment management, thereby affirming its commitment to more sustainable space operations. government/publications/sbri-active-debrisrefuelling-mission-feasibility-study-phase-1

LeoLabs, Secure World Foundation lead joint statement on space debris

LeoLabs released a joint statement on debris remediation signed by representatives of commercial entities in collaboration with the Secure World Foundation (SWF).

LeoLabs and SWF led this effort in response to the continual accumulation of massive derelict objects (e.g. spent rocket bodies, etc.) in low Earth orbit (LEO).

As of January 2024, around 29% of the total mass in LEO consists of these massive objects, 43% of which were left in orbit since the turn of the century. These objects pose the greatest debrisgenerating potential in LEO, putting the satellites the global economy relies on at risk.

Tracking methane leaks with space tech

Google and the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) recently announced a new partnership to track methane emissions from oil and gas operations. This collaboration leverages space technology to detect and expose leaks, holding companies accountable and ultimately aiding in climate change mitigation efforts.

The centrepiece is the launch of MethaneSAT, a new satellite specifically designed to detect methane emissions with high precision. Scheduled for launch in March 2024, this satellite will provide unprecedented global coverage and sensitivity for identifying leaks. Google provides its cloud computing resources and data analysis and visualization expertise to process and analyze MethaneSAT’s data. This includes creating a dynamic methane map accessible to the public later this year. The collected data will be available to various stakeholders, including researchers, regulators, and the public.

By overlaying MethaneSAT data with Google’s oil and gas infrastructure map, the project aims to identify specific equipment types most prone to leaks, aiding in targeted mitigation efforts.

Synspective signs MOU with Vietnam

Synspective, a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite data and analytics solution provider, entered into an agreement with the National Remote Sensing Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam and Fujitsu Vietnam. This collaboration aims to advance the application of satellite remote sensing technology in monitoring natural resources and the environment, preventing natural disasters, and fostering economic development in Vietnam.

TCarta, Capella Space partnership

Capella Space Corp announced a partnership with TCarta to add highresolution SAR satellite imagery to TCarta’s coastal monitoring and shoreline feature extraction solutions. It will enable more consistent and reliable identification of coastline changes so coastal managers have accurate and up-to-date information for mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Rising oceans and melting glaciers are quickly changing the geography of the world’s coastlines, reshaping ecosystems, and threatening the livelihoods of coastal communities.

ISRO launches INSAT-3DS meteorological satellite

INSAT-3D meteorological satellite was successfully launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on the GSLV-F14. It deployed the INSAT-3DS into the intended geosynchronous transfer orbit.

The INSAT-3DS satellite is an exclusive mission designed for enhanced meteorological observations, monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting, and disaster warning.

The primary objectives of the mission are to monitor Earth’s surface, carry out oceanic observations and its environment in various spectral channels of meteorological importance, provide the vertical profile of various meteorological parameters of the atmosphere, provide data collection and dissemination capabilities from data collection platforms, and provide satellite-aided search and rescue services.

AWS launches first space tech accelerator program in India

Amazon Web Services (AWS) India Private Limited has announced the AWS Space Accelerator: India, a technical, business, and mentorship opportunity designed to foster startups focused on space technology, and accelerate their development, with support from, T-Hub, and Minfy. This is AWS’s first accelerator program in India focused on startups in the space sector, and follows the MoU it signed with ISRO and INSPACe in September last year, which envisions to nurture startups in space-tech, and support innovation in the sector.

The 14-week accelerator program will provide India-based startups dedicated business resources, expertise, and guidance around technology and business capabilities, and help them leverage AWS to build, grow, and scale their missions. The program is open to both early-stage and mature startups based in India whose missions support the space sector, who need a technology platform for their ideas, and are looking to accelerate their growth and investment opportunities.

Space tech startups operate in a highrisk environment that requires significant capital investment and access to a skilled workforce, and need to undertake significant technology development and testing. The accelerator program seeks to address these challenges by providing space tech startups an opportunity to build and test their solutions using simulation technologies on AWS before making capital investments, allowing them to rapidly experiment at a low-cost, and enhance their solutions, before launching and scaling them.

Greece announces £60m EO microsatellite constellation

The Greek Ministry of Digital Governance has announced the development of a €60-million Earth observation microsatellite constellation. It will provide the country with optical, multispectral, and hyperspectral Earth observation data.

An initial call for information for what was then referred to as the National Programme for the Construction of Small Satellites was published in September 2021. The programme was announced as an element of the country’s national space strategy, with funding coming from Greece 2.0, which is the country’s national recovery and resilience plan. The call was developed in collaboration with the European Commission and the European Space Agency, with the agency also handling the publishing and management of the call.

On 24 January 2024, the Ministry of Digital Governance announced that this initial phase had been completed and that the project was ready to begin accepting proposals. According to this announcement, the constellation will have a total budget of €60 million. This project is, however, only one element of the country’s larger Microsatellite Programme, which has a total budget of €130 million.

Digital Public Infrastructure for Earth observation

Space startups such as GalaxEye Space, Dhruva Space and Pixxel in India have called on the government to implement a digital public infrastructure (DPI) for earth observation-based geospatial analytics. The Indian Space Association (ISpA) has sent a representation to the government making a similar pitch, saying it will open new horizons for India’s booming space sector.

The government must commit towards procuring and integrating these solutions, according to the space companies, since space technologies find widespread applications across areas such as agriculture, disaster management, infrastructure planning and urban development.

ESA launches Maritime Sustainability Task Force

The European Space Agency (ESA) recently launched its Maritime Sustainability Task Force. Initiated by ESA’s Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS) programme, the new Task Force will see ESA working together with a number of major players in the sector, including shipping companies, maritime authorities, classification societies, and industry associations. Together they will work to leverage on space solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the maritime sector.

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