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News from the South West ESA Business Applications Regional Ambassador

By on

Hello all!

Welcome to Issue 4 of the ESA Business Applications Blog for the South West – a special G7 Cornwall edition! As you are aware I’m sure, the G7 summit was held in Cornwall in June.  I’ll spend some part of the blog talking through the G7 and its impact to the regional space sector and wider satellite business applications. All in all, I think it went well, we luckily had fantastic weather and Cornwall was able to show off its assets!

However – before getting into all that… there is a small matter of an ultra-marathon race I ran at the end of May…. which I’ll get onto next!

Classic Quarter 2021 – My First Ultra Marathon race!

OK – so on May 22nd I ran the Classic Quarter which is a 44 mile (or as I prefer it – in kilometres – as it sounds longer… ….71km) ultra-marathon race along the Cornwall Coast path – from the UK mainland’s most southerly point – The Lizard, to the UKs most South Westerly point – Lands End.

I actually did surprisingly well – finishing in the top half of the race in a time of 10 hours and 17 minutes.

The last 10 miles were rather tough mind you. Those of you who know Cornwall’s coast path may appreciate that once you get past Mousehole it gets rather gnarly, all the way around past the Minack Theatre….and by that stage my legs were really getting quite tired!

However, even with the tired legs I managed to run the runnable bits and crawl the non-runnable bits to keep moving to the finish line!

So, a thoroughly enjoyable event along a beautiful bit of coastline… and now I am thinking what the next challenge may be…. perhaps something that involves swimming in the sea!

G7 – Cornwall shows off its assets

OK – onto more local news – the G7 summit!

The G7 summit took place in Carbis bay near St Ives in Cornwall in early June. The political leaders of UK, USA, Canada, Japan, France, German and Italy met in glorious surroundings, and leaders from several other nations cam to join the party as well.

From what I have heard the summit went very well! Cornwall was able to show all its assets – with especially gorgeous weather on the Saturday and Sunday. The leaders were treated to Cornish sea shanties, local Cornish produce and what the South West has to offer in environmentally sustainable business solutions.

Specific to the Space Sector, Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) organised a G7 space event on the Friday focusing on green futures and how space based applications can really help with environmental sustainability innovation. The event also hosted the inaugural opening of the Goonhilly 6 Deep Space antenna – opened by astronaut Tim Peake together with local STEAM students.

This was actually the first 3-dimensional event I’ve been to since early March 2020!… and the first time I’ve worn a suit in that time too! It was great to see colleagues actually in the flesh – including Conrad Gillespie head of the South West Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence. There were also some excellent presentations on how space can help monitor and mitigate environmental issues.

Spaceport Cornwall were also very active throughout the G7 summit, with a visit from UK prime minister Boris Johnson to a hanger with a mock-up of the Virgin Orbit Launcher One on display!

I was also fortunate enough (after the G7 was over!) to visit the same hanger during a Virgin Orbit Supplier Information day.  There is great momentum building around Spaceport Cornwall and I am really looking forward to seeing launch “take-off” next year!  It will surely form an important part of access to space for future satellite applications.

Spaceport Cornwall also announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Sierra Space for a future potential landing site for the Sierra Space Dream Chaser space plane.  This is excellent news and show the future potential business opportunities for the spaceport.

Mount Recyclemore

A final word on G7…. It seems the event went well and clearly climate change was high on the agenda.  One of the more thought-provoking statements outside the summit was a sculpture of the G7 leaders shaped like Mount Rushmore named Mount Recyclemore.  It was made up of disused electronic devices including old mobile phones, tablets and computers.  During the summit I went up to have a look and it was very clever and an appropriate statement towards the G7 leaders.

It clearly presented the concerns we must share in terms of the impact of human-made waste to the environment and how we must act more responsibly when it comes to environmental sustainability.  I am a firm believer that environmental innovation (especially driven by commercial businesses) can help mitigate these issues – and satellite applications especially is an excellent resource to help both monitor and mitigate human-made waste – both on the planet and off it!

Blue Abyss and a Big, Big Pool

Another piece of news over the last month was the announcement of Blue Abyss of a new large (and I mean large!) pool potentially getting built in the South West.  This “pool” will be 50m by 40m and 50m deep(!) making it 42,000 cubic meters of water – that’s the equivalent of 17 Olympic sized swimming pools!  The potential uses of such a pool are wide and varied and include for instance Astronaut training! This can bring another great technology asset to the South West.

ESA Business Applications news

OK – now lets get on with the latest in terms of open and upcoming ESA Business Applications tenders.  See all the details here:

Remember… firstly there is always the open call for any innovative idea or application which is commercially focused and utilises space based assets. 50% funding is available from 60k Euro up to 1M Euro+. Contact me or use this link for more details on this:

Here is the latest on upcoming and open tenders:

Space for Hydro Energy Sector , 50% funded, opening 30th June 2021 to 20 Sept 2021

A Feasibility study looking at how satellite applications can support the hydro energy sector. An example use case is for instance: A proper estimation of water content in the snow could enable energy producers to better manage the natural resources and make the renewable power production more efficient, being able to predict the inflow at turbine. A combination of satellite data, weather forecast modelling and in situ data can improve the estimation of these snow variables.

Smart and Uncrewed Shipping, 50% funded, 15th March – 15th Sep 2021

Seeking innovative user-driven solutions relying on advanced technologies such as 5G and satellite PNT (Positioning, Navigation and Timing) supporting smart and uncrewed shipping. Use cases include secure autonomous vessels operations and/or remote piloting, digitalization at sea and ports, predictive maintenance and support to remote operations at sea, reduction of emissions and environmental impact , maritime safety and more….

Image credit: metamorworks

NHS Future Hospitals Initiative, 50% funding, 1st April 2021 – 30th Sept 2022

This newly opened tender is ongoing to September 2022 and is focused on considering innovated space-enabled solutions that contributes towards shaping the NHS Future Hospital project initiative, recently kicked off by the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Such activities may include products and services addressing:

  • Logistical aspects (e.g. track and trace of goods, smart transportation)
  • Improved patients reach (e.g. tele-rehabilitation, tele-homecare)
  • Space-derived diagnostic tools (e.g. imaging and monitoring solutions)
  • Diagnostic collaboration networks (e.g. Artificial Intelligence assisted diagnostic service, transportable point of care solutions)
  • Services for improving environmental impacts (e.g. renewable energy, water treatment, air quality)

Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S) Applications, 50% funding, open call to 2025

Feasibility study or demonstration project focusing on utilising space based services for safety and security applications. Areas of applications include (but not limited to) transport (maritime, aviation, rail, road – manned & unmanned), essential services and critical infrastructures (utilities, finance, health system, logistics), public safety (emergency services, fire brigade, law enforcement, civil protection)

Image credit: urbans

Space4Rail, 50% funding, open call to 2024

Feasibility or demonstration project focusing on how satellite applications or services can support the rail industry. The Open Call aims to support the exploitation of space-based assets (satellite navigation, satellite communications and/or Earth observation) in innovative and sustainable applications/services:

  1. Related to future control, command and signalling applications of the European Rail system;
  2. Improving the performance and attractiveness of the railway, both for railway undertakings and end users.

Image credit: Denis Belitsky

Space Resources, 19th April – 30th June 2021

In-situ resource utilisation (ISRU) concepts considering mining concepts used on Earth that can apply to Space in the future. This includes things like reducing use of water in mining, solar powered mining machinery, remote and autonomous operations, agile and precise mining equipment.

UK is not directly supporting this fully funded call but UK teams are still welcome to apply for 50% funding via direct negotiation on this topic via the Open Call (see below…).  

So that’s all from me this month. A busy month what with G7 and everything else going on!

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any interest in any of the above, or if you have anything interesting to share!

Have fun!

Andy W.


The European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications UK Regional Ambassador Platform – South West England and South Wales (RAP-SW) is hosted by the University of Exeter in collaboration with:

  • ESA Space Solutions
  • UK Space Agency
  • Satellite Applications Catapult South West Centre of Excellence

All views are personal.

I am a geologist now working in space tech to help mining and geoscience companies engage with the capabilities that satellites can provide.
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