Some newly trumpeted initiatives display well the increasingly global scope of the commercial space segment.
Most recently, there’s news from Pretoria, South Africa, that the Dark Continent soon will be much less so on the communications front. That’s thanks to a new 10-satellite constellation dedicated to providing sophisticated data services over a wide swathe of the region.
The constellation was introduced at the African Satellite Remote-Sensing Conference by the Space Commercial Services Aerospace Group.
“Satellite technology is set to become an indispensable component of smart governance and economic development in Africa to ensure growth and prosperity for all the peoples of the continent,” SCSGI chief Sias Moster said. “Governments agencies and private companies can now have reliable, dependable, real-time high-quality data obtained through satellite imagery to support a wide range of services such as crop assessments, forestry management and deforestation, environmental protection, fire warnings, insurance risk assessments, address validation, infrastructure monitoring, urban and rural development, population counts, border control and maritime security.”
From more than 9,000 miles due north comes word of a similarly transformative satellite initiative. Lithuanian space start-up NanoAvionics recently unveiled a proposal to develop a modular propulsion system to power sat launches in northern Europe.
NanoAvionics received more than $50,000 from the European Commission for early development research, and now it’s looking to pin down a second-phase award.
And that’s just one of many a slew of new applications for backing for space-based initiatives from European funding agencies. The European Space Agency’s business incubation recently passed the milestone of 400 new companies.
“Since 2003, our business incubation initiative has nurtured over 400 companies, showing the value of this initiative in bringing back to Earth the benefits of space technology,” ESA technical and quality management director Franco Ongaro said. “ESA member states have realized the potential in using technologies and services from space to create new businesses and local jobs and doing so under our well-proven incubation scheme. Entrepreneurs and small companies bring their ideas, and we support them with technical advice from ESA and business advice from our partners to develop them into viable new companies in Europe.”
The ESA operates a dozen business incubators in in nine European countries, with four more set to open this year.