Business Support // Technology & Service Acceleration

Environmental Space Living Lab

Space Innovation that matters.

Real-world test environments, engaged communities, and technical expertise.


The agri-food sector is one of the main contributors of climate change, contributing to 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, a staggering 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are dedicated for agricultural activities, highlighting the immense strain placed on water resources by the sector. Simultaneously, agriculture itself faces significant challenges as a result of climate change. Shifts in temperature patterns, altered rainfall regimes, and increased frequency of extreme weather events all pose threats to crop yields, livestock health, and overall food production stability.

Space plays a key role in monitoring the environment and provide insights to farmers and agri-food supply chain stakeholders for decision making. The integration of space-based data and insights into agricultural practices offers immense potential for mitigating climate change impacts, enhancing sustainability, and optimising resource usage.

How can space enhance the environmental sustainability of the agrifood sector?

The space sector is currently experiencing significant changes in technological innovation, business models and service providers with new commercial players entering this sector. These developments made space technology more accessible and widely available.

Given that significant investment has already gone into space assets, exploiting them comes at a lower overall cost than the deployment of ground infrastructure in most cases. For instance, there has been 71% increase in number of communication satellites since 2020, making satellite communications an appealing option for service deployment in a remote location with limited terrestrial connectivity.


Moreover, the Earth Observation sector has undergone transformative changes, resulting in a wealth of accessible data, higher spatial resolutions, automated analytics and diverse business models.

The Satellite Applications Catapult is at the forefront of this revolution, pushing the boundaries of technology and its applications. Through collaboration between the agri-food industry and space technology pioneers, we can unlock the full potential of space-based solutions, promoting a more sustainable and resilient future for the sector.

The Environmental Space Living Lab: bridging the innovation gap

Farmers and land managers are often unaware of the technological innovations, relevant companies, and resources available that can address agricultural and environmental challenges while ensuring compliance with the latest legislation.

Companies with potential solutions to environmental and agricultural challenges encounter difficulties in connecting with farmers, and face limited access to testing environments, feedback, and support for scaling-up their innovations.

By bridging the gap between technology providers and end-users, the Environmental Space Living Lab can improve innovation adoption, foster sustainable agricultural practices, and enable effective compliance with environmental regulations.

The Environmental Space Living Lab connects farmers, land managers and innovators to enhance collaboration and address existing challenges in developing and adopting satellite-enabled technology. This user-centred, open innovation ecosystem facilitates co-creation of transformative solutions to agriculture and environmental challenges, leveraging satellite technology.

The Environmental Space Living Lab focuses on four key challenge areas:


Functioning soils are essential to national food security, clean water, provision, and carbon sequestration. Space technologies enable automated soil monitoring through Earth observation, remote sensing, and satellite-enabled IoT.


Satellite data and geospatial approaches are essential to manage water catchments that span huge geographies across complex topographies. When catchments are poorly managed the environment is less able to clean water, refill aquifers, and reduce flood impacts.


Agriculture alone poses a threat to 86% of species at risk of extinction. Monitoring biodiversity must be faster and at scale. Satellite technology can track species movements and migrations, ensure environmental corridors, and predict where species will be able to live under future conditions.


Shortfalls in workforce, economic pressures, and the urgency of the climate challenge call for technology that can operate autonomously and at scale. Connectivity solutions that bring together sensors, robotics, and drones for real time decision making and high levels of precision.

Co-funded by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, the Environmental Space Living Lab operates across three physical locations – Petroc in North Devon, Bicton College in East Devon and Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset. The Lab leverages resources from the Satellite Applications Catapult, University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, North Devon Biosphere and the Devon and Somerset County Councils.


What Environmental Space Living Lab can offer

The Environmental Space Living Lab unites space, market and tech experts with policy makers, academia and end users. This collaborative space enables the exploration and analysis of challenges, co-designing and testing innovative solutions, and accelerating their commercialisation. By doing so, it drives business growth while generating long-term social and environmental impacts.


Explore how space-tech can be used in your market. Deep dive into your business plan to highlight opportunities, costs and risks of your solution.


Work collaboratively with users and stakeholders to define requirements, prototype and test the solution to validate it.


Develop a commercialisation strategy and deploy your solution at scale.


Access to the Environmental Space Living Labs community, showcase and demonstrate your solution amongst relevant stakeholders.

No matter the stage of your business, the Environmental Space Living Lab is here to assist you. Whether you have a piece of technology and seek suitable applications; require assistance in securing funding to develop a prototype; or need access to potential users for testing and piloting your technology or service, the Environmental Space Living Labs can provide the support you need.

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Contact us to find out more and book an initial call with our business innovation team.