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Space - The Future is Now

We have now reached a tipping point where the reduction in investment required for space and satellite strategies meets with a growing understanding and realisation of the opportunities that exist in the capture and use of earth observation data. The potential of using this data for environmental, societal and commercial gains is hugely significant.

Seth Finegan UK CEO, Informed Solutions

The latest Size and Health Survey by London Economics suggests that the UK space sector already underpins £300bn or 15% of activity in other sectors across the UK economy.

Over the last decade there has been an accelerated reduction in the investment required to deploy satellite and small satellite technology to the point where it is now considered a cost effective technology for many new application areas. With the reduction in investment required to take advantage of such capability and the mainstreaming of complementary technologies such as IoT, Drones and AI we can only see exponential growth of this number in the years to come.

We have now reached a tipping point where the reduction in investment required for space and satellite strategies meets with a growing understanding and realisation of the opportunities that exist in the capture and use of earth observation data. The potential of using this data for environmental, societal and commercial gains is hugely significant.

Convergence is the Key to Unlocking Value

Convergence of satellite data with digital platforms and applications is needed to unlock value – by this I mean the development of integrated knowledge systems that can take earth observation and geospatial data in combination with business and personal data to create easily accessible pools of information from which digital innovation can flourish.

It is digital innovation that will facilitate the combined use of these data sources to drive the emergence of exciting new applications – from optimising agricultural production, to better managing land use change, to identifying mineral resources and, above all, to better understand and help tackle the impacts of climate change.

This convergence of more affordable space capability and advances in digital platforms and applications should act as a flashing neon signpost that attracts governments and entrepreneurs alike to support the efforts of the space industry and to help shape its growth.

It draws together technology trends that are already game changers for many industry segments and which now present a massive global opportunity for the space and Satellite applications sector – the development of knowledge systems that can take earth observation, geospatial and other ‘big data’ in combination with advanced and innovative computational techniques that include machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Collaborate To Innovate

Digital innovation will allow the combined use of these data sources to drive the emergence of exciting and advanced solution and applications – from weather pattern tracking, mapping and optimising agricultural production, infrastructure and logistics, emergency service optimisation, managing land and natural resources, identifying mineral resource and clean solar energy sites and more. 

We have recently done work to identify what Informed Solutions Purpose should be – what we stand for. We want to create economic and social value by helping to build a more inclusive, fair and safe society through ethical use of technology and data, and investing in digital skills. We believe this purpose sits very well with our collective space efforts.

At a recent Australia United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce Space event and following the announcement of a Space Bridge between the UK and Australia, Karl Rodriguez, Executive Director National and International Engagement at the Australian Space Agency and Dr Alice Bunn, International Director at the UK Space Agency recently highlighted the advances being made in research and development, communications and application development - all with the aim of improving the lives of everyone.

The Asset Challenge

The explosion in satellite deployment also introduces an unintended consequence regarding the manageable proliferation of assets orbiting the earth.

In March of this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that there are currently more than 2,000 satellites in orbit, though that count didn't include Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink satellites, 120 of which have been launched since May. SpaceX has permission to launch 10,000 more.

With other estimates suggesting as many as 5,000 orbiting satellites already exist, there is a current and increasingly urgent requirement to be able to manage and monitor those assets properly. Conjunction analysis (collision reporting), satellite trajectory changes (will they enter the earth’s atmosphere?) and general manoeuvring data and management will become an additional data challenge for industry – collecting data on assets that collect data…

Attracting the Talent to Power the Space Economy

For industry, the challenge lies in understanding the myriad of ways they could potentially leverage large volumes of data from space and satellite technologies, whilst thinking of creative ways they may be able to capture and leverage new data sources. Additionally, managing asset growth and space traffic management for such valuable data capture resources.

For the organisations that need digital innovation partners to help develop applications, the challenge will be identifying top talent, not just from a purely technical standpoint, but from their ability to form creative solutions to technical problems.

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