ESA’s new Earth observation innovation hub, ɸ-lab, is set to welcome three research fellows from the aerospace industry giant Airbus, to work at the edge of disruptive technologies that monitor Earth’s environment from space.
This has been made possible through an agreement signed today by Josef Aschbacher, Head of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, and Evert Dudok, Executive Vice President of Communications Intelligence and Security for Airbus.
The availability of today’s wealth of satellite data coupled with the latest digital technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to monitor our changing planet, and create a new landscape of opportunities for innovation and business.
ESA’s ɸ-lab is accelerating the future of Earth observation by helping space researchers and companies adopt these disruptive new technologies and methods.
The lab’s main focus in 2019 is applying artificial intelligence to develop new methods in Earth observation satellites, data gathering and analysis.
ɸ-lab also convenes experts from across the world to study how emerging technology topics like distributed ledgers, high-altitude pseudo-satellites and quantum computing can be applied to Earth observation.
The lab hosts researchers from the space sector and other fields to develop their ideas in the lab’s multidisciplinary team, based at ESA’s centre of Earth observation in Frascati, Italy.
Since many of the ɸ-lab’s activities are also relevant for Airbus, a long-term industrial partner of ESA, Dr Aschbacher invited Airbus to enable fellows to take advantage of this opportunity.
Dr Aschbacher said, “The ɸ-lab is a focal point where disruptive ideas are developed and tested. ESA is therefore offering opportunities to external partners, such as industry, to join the ɸ-lab team for a certain period of time to develop new innovative ideas.
“Airbus is a natural partner for us, we have been working with the company for many years and have developed many satellites and spaceborne instruments together. And now, we can look forward to another type of venture and welcome Airbus fellows to bring their expertise and ideas to our hub of innovation, the ɸ-lab.”
Mr Dudok, added, “ESA‘s new ɸ-lab is a fantastic research platform for new Earth observation analytics using machine learning and other innovative methods. I expect the visiting engineers to return after this year with a European network and a lot of additional knowledge.”