to: 21 Jul 2020




Artificial Intelligence has seen rapid progress in design and engineering of Space assest, as well as in Space applications. Numerous national Space agencies are establishing ambitious short-term and long-term goals to take full advantage of the possibilities heralded. The webinar will be an opportunity to understand current and future directions in AI related Space R&D. Space technologies are playing an increasing role in helping address global challenges, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. On 1 January 2021 the European Union will launch the new European Union Space Programmes Agency (EUSPA); in addition, the European Union’s Framework Programme for research and development (Horizon Europe) and the EU’s neighbourhood, International cooperation and development instrument (NDICI) are also scheduled to begin at that time.

The webinar is designed to inform stakeholders, raise awareness with policy makers and encourage innovative collaborations across the European Union and beyond.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Fintan Buckley CEO Ubotica, Ireland
  • Aubrey Dunne VP Engineering Ubotica, Ireland
  • Sandi Habinc General manager Cobham Gaisler, Sweden
  • Matej Batič Sinergise, Slovenia,
  • Gianluca Furano European Space Agency, Netherlands
  • Óscar Déniz Suárez VISILAB/University Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
  • David Moloney Intel Corporation, Ireland
  • Milind Pimprikar, CAEUS international and centre for large space systems and structures, Canada
  • Adriana Rad, European GNSS Agency, Czech Republic.
  • Declan Kirrane ISC, Brussels.

For further information, please contact:

Declan Kirrane

ISC Intelligence in Science

Mobile: +32 494 346040

Editors’ note

AI in Space: Addressing and Supporting European Space Policy

The Space sector and the rapidly expanding field of AI are rightly recognised as being of key strategic importance to the EU, and have been significantly advanced though €1.1BN H2020 investment in AI-related research and innovation, and the EU’s €12BN contribution towards European Space activities since 2014.

These investments have placed Europe in a very strong global position, and on track to achieve its policy objectives relating to general AI, and more specifically the application of AI in the Space-related activities. Europe is already leading the drive towards the democratisation of Space by qualifying affordable state-of-the-art Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) AI technology for use in Space, opening the Space market to contemporary commercial European silicon technology. This enables European SMEs to leverage the power of AI to make step advances in a wide range of possible applications, while reducing the cost of deployment relative to the more traditional radiation-hardened technology approaches. Democratising AI in Space inevitably leads to a growth in the use of satellites for a broader range of applications, whilst also enabling a Satellite-as-a-Service offering, thereby further increasing the potential of Space assets. Enabling SMEs to benefit commercially from this New Space paradigm stimulates jobs growth at both the mission level and in the extensive and expanding downstream applications market (e.g., monitoring and management of forestry, pollution, agriculture and construction). By processing directly on device, information can be extracted from satellite sensors and channelled downstream to end users with much lower latencies and cost than was previously possible, unlocking new approaches in, for instance, the European security and defence sector.

The EU’s stated Space policy of pushing the boundaries of science and research can be directly supported by access to AI on-board satellites, where the filtering of data at source optimises the scientific value of the downlinked data and provides the means to acquire satellite data for core research without the traditional deployment price tag. Traditionally, industry and institutions alike have been reluctant to address the flight portion of Space, being deterred by the perceived high cost of engagement. Europe’s recent pioneering of COTS AI for Space allows industry to address its specific and custom needs at significantly reduced cost, facilitating a Satellite-as-a-Service model for rental of time on deployed satellites – a model that may become as common in the future as cloud access to compute is today.

Europe can grasp the initiative in this domain through immediate and coordinated investment in, and promotion of, Space-related AI research and development, propelling innovation and aligning with the stated EU Space policy of boosting jobs, growth and investment in Europe. The emergence of AI for Space, together with the recent European demonstration of application in-orbit, point to the immediate opportunity for Europe to build on its current sectoral programmes to strive towards becoming the world-leader in New Space, where flexibility and dynamism can compete with incumbency and tradition. The adoption of COTS devices and AI-in-Space approaches, which enable the rapid deployment of less expensive spacecraft flying technologies supporting AI applications that can be continuously updated and upgraded in-flight, represent a major technological shift that disrupts previously established costing models, providing widespread and immediate opportunities for European Space innovation.

The EU now has the opportunity to accelerate its lead on AI-empowered Space innovation, fostering a competitive and innovative European Space sector, and critically providing opportunities for diverse Space access that increase industrial capacity and reinforce the EU’s strategic autonomy.